Tuesday, March 20, 2018


So, you know how I said last week that I was going to take a few days off to charge? Well, I guess it's only a break if you get back to whatever you're taking the break from. Whoops. I missed a step.

I didn't even think about the story this past week. I didn't open the document. I didn't send it to Cyhyr to start with her beta read. I didn't attempt to brainstorm that second akuma attack. Nothing.

I'm so good at this, guys!

I guess it's for the best; let it sit for a bit. Also, Cy has spring break this week. While it may mean the best time to read a 50,000+ fanfic, it's also the best time to recoup from her classwork. I don't want to overwhelm her. So I just left it at "let me know when you're ready."

Between her classwork and ChibiSunnie's classwork, I may not have beta readers until May. I have posted works without beta readers before, and I really want to be able to actually meet a deadline I set for myself; especially one I set back in September!

So.... the question becomes, do I just start posting the first few chapters without a beta, and hope neither of the girls think I should change anything? They could still help me by beta reading for the chapters I'd post from lay May on: so, roughly the second half of the story. The last third is the part I need the most help with. Do I trust my own edits for the first half?

I'm still not sure what to do with the first chapter though. It's so long! Who is going to read a 7000-word FIRST CHAPTER!?

But I still can't fathom what to cut, where to cut, what to do, anything. I put in a call for advice to the fanfiction group I'm part of on Facebook. As of this writing, I still haven't received any responses....

Our work schedule is back to normal now though, so perhaps I can get back in rhythm with my writing too. I need to work on a new story to post for this month. Maybe switching gears and working on that will re-inspire me.

Speaking of re-inspiration, the "Miraculous Ladybug" hiatus ended last week. It was so cute watching the latest episode. I was in hysterics watching the over-the-top King Kong references. I mean, they were bad. So bad. But in a beautiful kind of way.

Also, we got a bit more information that is pretty awesome. We got to find out Adrien's mother's name. We got a hint at what she did for a living - or at least tried her hand at. We officially found out Adrien's age. While we could guess, based on the age they are in, that Adrien is 13 or 14, and have that more-or-less confirmed in the second season episode where Marinette has her fourteenth birthday, Alix turned fifteen in the first season. So Adrien's range was 13 through 15.

Finally, we got to see Hawk Moth briefly chat with his kwami Nooroo before we see his transformation. We've seen this before, but usually draped in shadow. This time he gets a full Transformation Sequence, just like Cat Noir and Ladybug do. Same as Rena Rouge had in one episode. I have to say, while I get it since he's an adult and the superheroes are teens, I was a bit disappointed in his lack of flashiness and/or theatrics during his transformation.

There were some cute Adrienette moments and another reference to the bracelet Marinette gave Adrien in the episode "Gamer" which is pretty cool. I've also watched a couple of videos yesterday focusing on "proof" that Adrien likes Marinette, but just doesn't realize it yet. It's helped me kind of get more into Adrien's head. Maybe that, and whatever episode came/comes out this week, will help me reach the finish line with editing this story.

Next week, or the following since I'll have until Saturday, I should have my March story ready to share. Two weeks from today I'll either officially start posting "Peeping Tomcat" in weekly installments, or I'll officially post that I'm postponing, and give an estimate of when I'm postponing until.

Do you have any thoughts/advice? Feel free to let me know in the comments section below.

Now to get back to editing, or rewatching Miraculous, or reading more chapters of "Dominion".... Something....

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I'm Done With Roller Coasters

This past week has been a bit of a roller coaster. Mostly a series of downs, but just enough ups to keep the “ride” going.

Last week, a coworker lost her dad after spending a week in and out of the hospital with him. I feel her pain, and I am so sorry for her loss. I'm glad I was able to be there for her. But a selfish part of me is exhausted from working nearly two weeks straight, Sunday through Saturday. My only time off was a snow day on the 2nd, and a half-day the following Friday. It's been mentally draining, and I'm a bit burnt out.

On top of that, I found out last week that a college friend of mine, who I knew was struggling with his depression, committed suicide. Another light gone needlessly. Another circle of survivors left behind wondering “What If” as they rack their brains wondering how he could have been saved. A lot of emotional drain to add to my mental exhaustion.

My friend is deeply missed, and probably more so than he ever fathomed. It saddens me that I've already advocated this so many times on this blog, but I will keep doing so until there is no longer a need.

You ARE loved.
You WILL be missed.
You ARE NOT a burden.

I know it's hard to ignore those dark voices in your mind telling you otherwise. I know that every day is a struggle to quiet those negative thoughts. However, you should know that there IS help. Please, PLEASE, ask for it.

And for those of you who think “Reach Out” is pathetic advice, because OF COURSE you would reach out if it was that easy, please read this article on HOW to do so when you're struggling.

And print yourself this image:

I'm actually going to share that link again, because it's so important:
10 Ways to 'Reach Out' When You're Struggling with Your Mental Health.
Keep trying to fight and hold on. Your life does have value. And I will keep using the limited platform I have with this blog to tell you that over and over again.

As one could probably expect with the week I just had, I wasn't really in the mindset to write anything this week. I still haven't come up with an akuma idea. I didn't finish editing all fifteen chapters of “Peeping Tomcat.” I didn't succeed in my goal(s) for Writers’ Huddle's winter challenge.

Progress was made, though. Mostly with reading.
Trying to avoid in-depth thinking while still escaping reality for a bit, I managed to finish off "Oblivion." It was definitely a strong second novel by Ali Luke. You can hop on Amazon to read my full review, but the long and short is this:
  • Her already good writing improved.
  • I loved the character development she had, including getting me to finally sympathize with Mark!
  • The pacing was a lot more intense in this installment.
  • I still think, much like in "Lycopolis," Kay – clearly the main hero – doesn't get enough page-time.
  • I will always think there needs to be more Brandon, even though I understand why that wouldn't work from a narrative standpoint.
  • My only critique is that the climactic fight scene has so many players and locations involved, along with multiple POVs. It gets a bit confusing at parts as to what exactly is going on. That's the only snafu for me, though.
All-in-all, while I had a similar thought with “Lycopolis,” I truly feel like “Oblivion” would make an awesome movie. Perhaps that can be a WIP for next year: a fan script adaptation. It would be good practice on how to cut a story down into 120 minutes of film. Finding what is truly essential, and how to visually showcase things that are perhaps easier to explain on paper. Might be a fun exercise.

I managed to download the Kindle app onto my dinky netbook so I could get started on Ali's concluding story “Dominon.” I'm about two chapters in and still firmly hate the set-up of the Kindle app. I don't know if e-books are more enjoyable to read on an actual tablet, where they are taller than they are wide, but trying to read on a computer screen means each page is only a couple paragraphs long. I'm not a fan of constant clicking to advance pages. If I had to read an e-book on my computer, I'd much prefer PDF files that I can read in Adobe Reader. The formatting is better for me, and I can just scroll down through the story instead of clicking "next".

It is kind of sad when it's a more enjoyable experience – when it comes to formatting and ease of reading – to go through fanfiction downloaded off of AO3, compared to the clunkiness of the Kindle app.

Oh well, at least I can now read Ali's latest book. I WILL be buying it again, though, if she ever opts to have a print version like she did with the first two. So, come on, Ali! Make double the profit off me!

It wasn't all reading to avoid daily drain this week. On Sunday, as a last-ditch effort to conclude my week with SOME progress, I went back through chapter ten of “Peeping Tomcat.” I then continued on to chapters eleven and twelve. I tried expanding both, but neither hit the 3000 word mark, so I ended up combining them. This dropped my over-all chapter count for the story back to fourteen. I still have the last two chapters to conquer, as well as going back to chapter nine. Also, after going back through what needs to happen in the ninth chapter, it may split into two: the akuma attack itself, and the aftermath of it before Adrien decides he HAS to confess to Marinette.

So, I have three, maybe four, chapters left to go before it's done. Not bad, really. The story, as is, surpassed the 51,000-word mark. Granted, I probably could have had the whole thing done in the six weeks if I really pushed, but about 80% done isn't all that shabby either. I still have enough that ChibiSunnie and Cyhyr should be able to get the basic idea and give me overall notes. And as for chapter-by-chapter notes, I'm far enough ahead that I could get started with those on just the intro chapters, and still publish the first chapter on April 6th, as I originally planned.

Right now the real sticky wicket is that both girls are really booked with their own lives. While Cy reassured me that she was super excited to start reading the story, and was antsy for me to be done so she could start reading, I also don't want to distract her too much from what else she needs to do for her own career. And Chibi is so nose to the grindstone right now to get her own story done that she barely has five minutes to eat. I know that she has to wait until May to start reading. I'm hoping that I can still get started on my postings and that she can jump in to help with the ending of the story.

My biggest concerns are as follows:
  1. The first chapter is about ELEVEN pages long! I feel like it's just too long, but I don't know where to cut, or if I should chop it in half and have it be two chapters, or what to do with it.
  2. Out of the first ten chapters, just about all of them average between 3500 and darn near 7000 words! Then, from the eleventh chapter on, I'm struggling to hit 3000 words! This story seems so unbalanced.
  3. I still fear that I'm too inside Adrien's head, and that I'm making the story more complicated than it needs to be.
  4. As it's my first fanfic within this fandom, I always fear I don't have characters in character, or the situation believable.
But I'm so close! Even if it ends up being a flop, I am sooooo close to having a 50,000+ word story DONE! I'm so close to actually completing a multi-chaptered story. I'm so close to being able to do something I never do outside one-shot stories: cross off a WIP from the list of stories waiting to be finished. This is a major milestone for me.

So, yay! Thanks to the reviewers and favoriters of the “Peeping Tomcat” teaser chapter and “The Birth of The Mimicker” for keeping me excited for this project. Thanks to Chibi and Cy for cheering me on and volunteering to beta. Thanks to my mom for always having my back. Thanks to Hubby for indulging me. Thanks to Ali for hosting the Winter Writing Challenge in order to keep me focused. Thank you all! I love my support group! Group hug!!!
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
And while I'm on this high swing, how about I finish by wishing my sister and my god-son belated birthdays! Hope you both enjoyed yourselves!

Now to go relax for a couple days. Recharge. And get some more work done!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Painful Week

This week didn't go well.....

I am still trying to figure out that second akuma attack chapter. So far, I came up with about four potential akumas, but none of them would work with this story. At least I have something for other fanfics. So, silver lining, I guess. Doesn't help with last week's goal though. Meh.

I've been trying to "research," as it were, other akuma options. I watched a few episodes again to try to remind myself how the akumas are already used canonically. I also spent about four hours flipping through fanart and fancomics, as well as read about five different fanfics, to try to see what others do for their akumas. I know I did this already back around November, but with potentially new stories, I was hoping I'd have better luck. Sadly, it's the same now as it was then: virtually no fanfic writers attempt to have an akuma attack.

Most ignore them completely. The writers that acknowledge them tend to just deal with them "off screen." Only a small few actually have Ladybug and Cat Noir fight akumas, and when they do, the akumas don't seem very canonical. It's fine, that's what fanfiction is for, but it doesn't help me try to come up with something more "true-to-show." Most fanfic-original akumas are either generic superhero villains, such as a wolf-man who is out to protect the stray dogs of Paris, or they are complete fanservice, such as a slighted lover who is now playing cupid and forcing people to fall into intense lust with each other; creating random make-out sessions in the street. Or the akuma is a complete political statement, such as a guy who gets angry about being "friend zoned" and tries to force Marinette to fall for him, claiming to be the "nice guy" while borderline sexually harassing our brave heroine. Sadly, I have yet to find an original akuma that feels like something Zagtoons and/or Thomas Astruc would actually create. So my week of research hasn't been much of a help in that regards.

I did find a few new writers that I'm now following, and one or two new fanart/fancomic artists that I'm keeping an eye on. In that light, the research was a win, I guess....

On top of the lack of inspiration or proper guide, I put myself on bedrest most of the week. Apparently, I'm now an 80+ year old woman, because I threw out my back while picking up a piece of paper this week. Yup. I was moving a bunch of heavier things around the store with no problem. Then, fast forward about a half our, and I bent down to pick up a piece of paper the delivery team left on the floor. Somewhere in my bending down and standing back up I pinched a nerve or pulled a muscle or something. My lower back has been throbbing all week. I've been slowly cutting back on both pain killers and time off my feet as the week progressed, so I know it's healing, but it still kept me sort of laid up.

Normally, especially because I have a laptop, you'd think I would get MORE writing done, since I can't really do anything else, and I'm in one place anyway. However, I've been sleeping more than I would like to admit. Probably my body trying to heal. The pain, or the meds to dull it, also kind of fog my head. That, plus the lack of progress in my research, really kept me stumped.

What it DIDN'T keep me from is reading. That's been my main distraction over the past week: reading Ali Luke's second book Oblivion. While someone like Rick Riordan either stays equally good or falls into an uncharacteristic slump, Ali definitely improved on an already great writing style. I have been completely drawn in, and have to purposely stop myself after x-chapters or x-minutes, otherwise I would devour the whole book in one sitting. Not great when I'm trying to savor the stories, and I also would fall further behind if I just avoided everything with reading.

I have more-or-less been doing precisely that anyway, though.

"Should I write?"
"Yeah, open up the file."
"I can't think of anything."
"Give it another five minutes."
"I think I'd rather read more Oblivion, perhaps that will inspire me."
"Oh, okay.... I'll write later..."

And yet later never arrives. Does it ever?

At least I have the fun privilege of being able to fangirl about a book and its characters with the actual AUTHOR of said book. So, that's cool. She seems to get a kick out of my gushing about her work, and I'm having fun being able to freak out to the person who WROTE THE THING I'M FREAKING OUT ABOUT. That's just awesome to me.
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
Another silver lining? I DID write/edit this week. I just polished chapter ten a week early, and then jumped over to chapter twelve to polish that one up too. I didn't do nearly as much writing/editing as I would have liked, and it was all for the "wrong" chapter(s), but it was better than no writing. Right?

OH! And speaking of which, I did manage to get something written before the close of February! About two hours before writing group, I went to take a shower. Man, I'm loving how my mind can wander in the shower - one benefit of my hair being so long it takes darn near ten minutes to wash! - because, much like the instant realization of the Lucky Charm I wanted to use for my one chapter, I also came up with a story for February.

I haven't played "Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" yet, and it's been a little while since I've seen Hubby play it. Yet, that was precisely what popped into my head. I was trying to figure out an akuma, and somehow Link the silent protagonist, and his canonical reasoning for it in BotW, were what came up. Remembering the plot/canonical facts and events in BotW, presented via Link's lost memories and Zelda's diary, I wanted to show Zelda rage at Link for staying silent.

I practically had the whole thing written in my head as I showered and dried my hair. Managed to just barely get it poured out onto the page by the time it was my turn to read at group. My chapters for "Peeping Tomcat" are long. I will never get ahead of my posting schedule since writing group is only every OTHER week. I was excited about my BotW fanfic, written vaguely enough that it could be mistaken as original work. So I decided to not read any more "Peeping Tomcat" at writing group, and read that instead.

Granted, we only had about five minutes left of the meeting by the time I was done reading, so we couldn't really afford long critiques, but I did have a lot of people comment about how they enjoyed it. How it COULD have been original. How powerful and emotional it was. How a lot was said in such a short amount of time.

Why can't I write like this all the time? With such succinctness?

Anyway, since I wasn't sure if it would still be considered fanfiction to everyone, I went ahead and posted the story on fanfiction and original works sites alike.

"One Last Hope"

The story has received only one review - "Good story obviously" - and a small collection of faves since it went up last Wednesday. By far not one of my most well known pieces, but I'm still proud of it. I think I'm most proud of being able to keep Link's, Zelda's, and Ganon's names out of the story so that it CAN be reworked, with only a little bit of tweaking, into something original. I might have to think about adjusting it to fit a Gyateara story someday.

I have yet to read a continuous, multi-chapter, WIP at writing group, and it bums me out that I had that opportunity with "Peeping Tomcat," but I think it's best for me and the other members if I just stick with these short one-shots and pick up generic critiques on my writing voice that way. We'll see where I go from here.

The big thing is to get back into writing my own stuff; to continue work on "Peeping Tomcat," but the struggle is kind of real. My one co-worker has had a family emergency that has kept her out of work all last week, and it looks to be keeping her on leave this week as well. So I haven't really had a day off except for Friday when the store was closed due to over three feet of snow in less than 24-hours. I also don't have as much down time at work as I thought I would, or I would normally get with said co-worker, so not much writing has been going on there.

I hope it's just the first week - maybe two - of the month that's shot, and not the whole month itself. I'm going to try to finish the writing challenge strong. Cheer me on, won't you? It helps.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Let's Play The Yay-Boo Game!

Well, folks, it's everyone's favorite game show!

It's. The.....


Here's how you play. You have conflicted views/feelings about a subject, and you go back and forth about the yay's and boo's of that subject. Ready to play?

This week's subject is: My Writing Progress

I finished Chapter Eight of "Peeping Tomcat" with a few days to spare before I needed to check in over at Writers’ Huddle. First week I wasn't just squeaking in at the deadline! YAY!

The reason why I finished Chapter Eight so soon was because, while the rest of my chapters average at 5412 words, my latest didn't even hit 1600 words originally. BOO!

Yes, there are three chapters that skew the results one way or the other, my longest chapter being the one about the akuma attack which clocks in at 7560 words, and my previously shortest chapter was the lead-in to Adrien and Marinette's pseudo-date, which was only 3062 words. Here's the actual break-down:
Chapter 1: Mistake - 6978
Chapter 2: Itch - 3967
Chapter 3: Opportunity - 3062
Chapter 4: Normal - 4876
Chapter 5: Mimicker - 7560
Chapter 6: Parallels - 6804
   (I'm still debating calling chapter 6 "Epiphany" instead)
Chapter 7: Confusion - 4639
I have since been able to go back and add more definition to the story though. YAY!

But it was for the seventh chapter to bring that up to the above 4639 word count.... BOO!

HOWEVER! Yesterday I was able to steal away some time to add to Chapter Eight's word count, bringing it up to 2139 words, much closer to my minimum. Plus, I'm not done reworking it yet! YAY!

I really need to stop worrying about how short this chapter is, though, because this week's challenge is a second akuma attack, and I don't even have a starting point for this akuma. BOO!

I DO have some of the interaction I want between Chat Noir and Ladybug thanks to the akuma, though, and that's the whole point of the upcoming chapter.
Added bonus: if the chapters "Normal" and "Mimicker" are any indication, I'll probably have to introduce the akumatized character and the distressing event in Chapter Eight, as a lead-in to the actual akuma attack in Chapter Nine. Which means figuring out the akuma attack for Chapter Nine will help bring up Chapter Eight's word count. DOUBLE YAY!

The big problem, though, is that I've been so focused on this project of "Peeping Tomcat" that I didn't even think of a short to post this month. Which means I only have today and tomorrow to write, edit, and post something new online in order to keep with my new years resolution of something new published each month. On top of that, I don't have anything to share here for the month, AND, unless I get at least the writing done today, I again won't have anything to read at writer's group tonight. DOUBLE BOO!

AAAAAAAAnd, there we have it! The conclusion of our game! Let's see the results:
YAYs: 5              BOOs: 5
Well, looks like it was a tie game! Each up swing had its fall, each cloud had its silver lining!

Thanks for playing the


Now back to our regularly scheduled program....

Okay, so for writer's group tonight, even though I probably won't have a new one-shot to read, I COULD start reading off "Peeping Tomcat" to hear their thoughts, add them to my betas' reactions once I send them the story, and see where I end up. As you saw above, though, each chapter is LOOOONG! But then again, isn't this the point of the group? To read off your WIPs and get reactions in order to better them? Sure, none of them know "Miraculous Ladybug", but don't I want opinions from non-fans to see if they understand the story? To make sure I'm explaining the scenes and episode events well enough that you don't NEED to watch the show to enjoy the story?

I'll see what I decide when I get there. If I'm one of the first to read, perhaps I'll just go full throttle and read off "Peeping Tomcat". If I have a new one-shot written, perhaps I'll read that to help polish it before posting tomorrow.

I'll let you know what I decided next week.

In the meantime, I finished my re-read of Lycopolis a couple of days ago.
I told Ali that, while my mind and world views have evolved since my first read, and I understand the characters better this go, I still had the following thoughts on each character:
  • Seth is definitely the charmer he's supposed to be, but he's also a complete jerk, and it's masterful how Ali has him walk that line.
  • Kay is a lovely heroine, but there's one scene late in the book where I always seem to scream because she's too timid! I get why she reacts the way she does, and I get why it's important to the overall story that she does, but, dang, girl! Move faster!
  • Edwin just needs all the cuddles! He's portrayed as Goth, but he is by far more Emo than Goth. If Emo's wore baggy clothes to hide in instead of the skinny jeans, you'd have Edwin.
  • Mark is my least favorite character. I understood him more this read than I did last; probably because I'm going through a similar weird 30-something "mid-life crisis" but for completely opposite reasons than Mark. He also started to redeem himself towards the end of the book, more so than I remembered from my first read. Still, I don't like him. I still think Hannah can do better....
  • Hannah we don't really get much of outside her role as "Mom," either to her actual kids or to the teens in the book: Kay, Brandon, Edwin, and Robert. I like Hannah, but I don't really get enough to build a true opinion of her.
  • Robert is another one we don't get much of, mostly because everyone else is from around the same area in England, and Robert is Texan. While I get his teenage/religious rebellion and questioning, I also think he's a jerk to follow Seth so easily.
  • Brandon is still my favorite character. His aloofness is just so enduring to me for whatever reason. The fact that he thinks in numbers is fascinating to me, and I totally get his justifications for the numbers he assigns each person he meets. The characteristics do seem to fit both the people and, strangely, the assigned number. 
All-in-all, I want to see how Seth reacts post-Lycopolis, I want to learn more about Hannah and Robert, I want to see Kay become more confident, I want to see how Mark redeems himself and grows, and I just want more Brandon. Edwin just needs more love and cuddles. Man, I love broken characters....

I've been taking a roughly week-long reading break instead of getting a jump start on "Oblivion". Mostly because whenever I know I should be working on "Peeping Tomcat" I've instead been reading.... It's a seemingly wonderful excuse for procrastinating...

Come Thursday, however, it will be March 1st, and I'll be back to reading. I'll let you fine folks know how my opinions may change for each character. Ooooor, you can decide for yourself by going over to Amazon and buying the books.

Okay, this blog is now going to posting late. Stupid computer lag. Plus, I still need to figure out my monthly one-shot. So, I'll catch everyone next week!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2018: Year of the Writer

It's that time of year again! When I use any excuse to try to hit the reset button. To be fair, though, in regards to my writing, I haven't been doing so bad. I haven't been doing as good as I would have liked, but I haven't been doing bad either.

This past week was probably one of my worst weeks, actually. Ironically. Between a day or two of being in a deep, angry funk for no apparent reason, Hubby trying to cheer me up, Valentine's Day at-home date-night followed by an actual date-night late in the week, and ironically Writers' Group, taking up all of my evenings, I didn't get much writing done. I also had no time at work, even during lunch. Mostly because lunch was the only time I had to get any reading done to not fall behind there.

So, I'm on par with where I want to be with my reading challenge at least.

Writing time, on the other hand, took a back seat this past week. Instead, Hubby and I had a "bad movie night" and watched a couple of movies on Netflix with some terrible reviews. We then watched "Black Panther" at the local theater on Saturday. Yesterday we watched the live action Fullmetal Alchemist movie on Netflix. Backtrack to Friday, Hubby had us watch "Z-O-M-B-I-E-S" on Disney Channel. It was cute for what it was, a Disney Channel Original movie. It did give me a new song addiction, which I happen to be listening to now:
Quick explanation. In Z-O-M-B-I-E-S a lime-soda induced explosion at the power plant created zombism. For me, the lime-soda is important for explaining why the zombies all look like Batman's Joker cosplayers. Anyway, the point is, in this movie, zombism is more a mutation than the reanimation of corpses. They still have superhuman strength, are aggressive, and crave flesh - more specifically, "braaaaaaaaiiiiiins". However, the government was able to design Z-Bands, wristbands every zombie wears that calms their flesh-eating urges and their aggression while also dropping their strength to average for humans. Now that zombies are "normal" they can live side-by-side with humans, sorta, they're stuck in the zombie slums called Zombietown. The story then follows the attempt to integrate zombie teens into the "normal" high school.

Again, it's cute. A bit heavy handed in putting exposition in dialog, and late in the movie, during a song the main character Addison sings, they visually recap the movie YOU JUST SAW in a flashback montage, which Disney seems to be big on lately. Those were the two main flaws I saw, but otherwise I'd recommend the movie if you have Disney Channel.

Back to my writing though.

I didn't give myself a lot of time to just write. Instead, this week was more "self maintenance" week, trying to spend time with my hunny, figure out why I was so randomly angry all the time for two days, taking long showers, and watching non-serious movies as pick-me-ups. It was important to do this maintenance, because I definitely feel much better this week.

I did manage to still keep my chapter-a-week pacing, though. At this rate I will never have all of "Peeping Tomcat" set to send to my betas by mid-March. However, most fanfiction writers only have a detailed outline, will write a chapter a week, edit THAT chapter, and post for weekly updates. So, I'll be sort of ahead of the game because I'm trying to have the whole story done first and edited as a whole entity. That way, if something later in the story adjusts something earlier in the story, I can do so instead of trying to dance around plot holes.

You know, like what I did with What Is Truly Meant To Be. I knew what I wanted for this story. I had a fairly detailed outline for it. I knew what would happen in each chapter. I did what most other fanfiction writers do: write a chapter, polish it, post it, work on the next chapter. Then I discovered the devil is in the details. Once I got into the actual nitty gritty of dialog and inner monologues, I stumbled upon plotholes I had to fill. It would have been a lot easier to have written the whole thing out, found those plotholes, and changed the earlier chapters to avoid them, instead of trying to pull a solution out of a hat later on, after I couldn't change things. Lastly, writing chapters took me way longer back then, so updates weren't nearly regular enough. And I eventually fell away from the story.

I want to avoid "Peeping Tomcat" falling into the same pattern as this last major project I was working on. Which is why I want to have it completely done before I started my weekly update postings. However, it looks like I'm going to fall into a sort of half-way between the two. I should have the first ten chapters done by the end of the Winter Challenge, which means I'll have all but the last five chapters edited. I might even get as far as the eleventh chapter, actually, since chapter ten is already pretty close to the best I can do without beta notes. That's over 60% of the story re-written/edited and ready for my betas. I also have a fairly firm grip on what I want for the tail end of the story, complete with the chapters already having a first draft written thanks to NaNo.

I could send the girls the first two-thirds of the story as edited as I can get it on my own, and then a detailed synopsis of the final third so they know where I'm going with the story. They should be able to give me notes on each chapter and the story overall based on that. I'll start posting the finalized chapters on time, and I'll have about two months to finish the last four or five chapters, get them beta'd and then polished, before I would fall behind. I should be more than capable if I stick with my current pace. In fact, I should have a month leeway to start working on "One and the Same." I probably won't be able to start posting it the week after I complete "Peeping Tomcat" though, unless I lock myself away for a weekend or something and just write the whole first draft in one go.

We'll see how everything goes. I do need to work at a faster pace, but for right now, I like the rhythm I have, and it is an improvement over the past. I'm happy, and I can work to increase my productivity for "One and the Same."

I might even have something to read at group again.

I've been avoiding it for a couple of reasons. First is that my betas haven't read any of the story yet, so I don't know what their input will be, and I don't want to read the same chapter multiple times to the group. Second reason is that my chapters are LOOOOOONG and I'll probably take up at least 45mins of the two hours we meet up every other week. It could even be as much as a full hour, and I feel like that is taking too much of everyone's time. Especially if I do that fifteen times. Third is because no one is into the fandom. They seem to enjoy the story anyway, but they also seem kind of hesitant to critique. Mostly they just have questions on how x-y-z works, which I guess does help because it means I need to explain things a bit more so non-fans could enjoy it. I just need to figure out the happy balance between non-fans enjoying the story, and possibly be tempted to watch the show based off the story, and not putting in so much explanation that the fans get bored, since they knew all of it already. My final reason is that it's 15 chapters, read every other week. I won't be done reading the story to them until around September. I should be done posting the chapters online by then. Any critique they would give me would be moot unless I wanted to go back and update chapters already posted and read. So it would just be me reading for the sake of having a captive audience for my story.

On the flipside, though, I'll be doing a second Miraculous fanfic right after this one, am I truly not reading anything at group for a year?

I mean, I still want to post something new every month, so maybe every other writing group I'll read that? I need to write something for this month still....

I dunno. Thankfully, we ran out of time last group, so I didn't have to worry about whether or not I wanted to read something. Instead, I tried to pass the turn over to Omnibladestrike.

YEAH! Haven't seen that name for a little bit, huh? Well, he's writing again! Check the above link to see his latest. He's been coming to writing group too. This past Sunday was supposed to be the first week of our writer's dates, but it was mostly me reading his latest edits and then five hours of us watching YouTube.... we're good at this.

But he's writing again, and regularly! So exciting! And I'm not doing too shabby either. ChibiSunnie has been working really hard on her first children's story, and she should have at least the bare bones, if not the whole thing ready to publish, by the end of the college semester.

Over at Writers’ Huddle, last year's winter challenge was basically week after week of all of us going "yeah, I wasn't able to do much :(". This year's winter challenge has more people, and most of us are commenting about our progress. Even those who were sick, taking care of sick family members, were on vacation, or were otherwise distracted from their writing - much like me this past week - are commenting about getting SOMETHING written at least.

So, perhaps 2018 will be a good writer's year.

I guess I need to get started on chapter 8 to find out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shoving That Boulder Along

I'm a day early, but Happy Valentine's Day to you all. Romantic, platonic, familial, communal, or otherwise, I hope you're feeling some extra love this week.

I would appreciate a little extra love from my Muse this week in order to help me catch up with "Peeping Tomcat".

My second week of the Writers’ Huddle Winter Writing Challenge went about as well as the first one. Prior to the challenge starting, I had the following break down:
  1. Chapters 6 and 7 redone and ready for my beta readers by the close of the first week: February 4th
  2. Chapters 8 and 9 set for my betas by close of the week: February 11th
  3. Finish chapter 9 if need be, touch up on the mostly fine chapter 10, and start chapter 11 by close of the week: February 18th
  4. Catch up week if I need it, but still have chapters 11 and 12 done by close of week: February 25th.
  5. Chapters 13 and 14 by the end of the week: March 4th
  6. Chapter 15 before I need to head to my mom's to visit my sister: March 9th
After the challenge started and I knew I had to work chapter 5 in as well, my new goals look like this:
  1. Chapters 5 and 6
  2. Ooooh kaaaay.... how about 6 and 7?
  3. Chapters 7, 8, and start 9?
  4. Here's hoping I can finish 9 and just quickly polish a few words here and there in chapter 10.
  5. Shoot! I need to get chapters 11, 12, and 13 taken care of!
  6. Race through chapters 14 and 15; taking no more than 2 days each. @_@
I have a feeling that come March 12th, instead of sending a completed manuscript to my betas, I'm going to just send the first half of the fanfic along with a detailed outline for the second half. That way they can at least start giving me notes so I can still have my story posted "on time."

Oh! That's right! I shared on DeviantArt, but not here. I have a tentative publication date of Friday, April 6th, or even late Thursday night so it's available all of Friday. With the help of my two betas Cyhyr and ChibiSunnie, I should have the first chapter polished and ready to go by that April publication date. Then I'll polish a new chapter each week, and post said chapter every consecutive Friday... or Thursday night, whichever one I decide on. If I can at least be far enough ahead in my edits/writing to keep up with this schedule, then I'll finish off "Peeping Tomcat" about mid-July. I'll then start posting "One and the Same" on a weekly schedule as well.

That means I not only need to be ahead of the game in my weekly posts for PT, but I also need to have at least the first few chapters of OatS ready to go. I have no clue how large that story is going to be, but, if it doesn't carry me to the end of the year, then it should at least carry me long enough for me to polish up that Devon/Trish battle fanfic. Then THAT will be my final post of the year. Given the plan of FINALLY doing the Varekai fan-novelization over this year's NaNo, since I pushed it aside last year, I should get that polished and set to go March/April 2019. That's quite a ways away, though, so let's focus on PT, shall we?

As I mentioned, Cy and Chibi both offered to beta for me. Cy is actually a Miraculer as well, so she's going to be my main beta reader for this project. Chibi hasn't had time to get into the show, and she's also pretty booked with her own writing and schoolwork. However, she's always been a beta reader for me, so she's keeping that hat on, as it were. Since she knows my writing style and voice, she'll help assist me with that. Plus, she's my gauge on how well people outside the fandom might understand and/or enjoy the story.

So, can we take a brief time out to thank these two ladies for taking what will probably be massive amount of time helping me figure out this story? Likewise, can we thank my writing group for dealing with my kooky fanfiction I bring every meeting? No one is ever in the fandoms I write for, but they are good spirits and let me read anyway. So, thanks, everyone, for indulging me.

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Oh, speaking of thanks and indulgences, I actually co-won the raffle for the first week of the writing challenge. I've got an Amazon $10 gift card, and I'm itching for a book to spend it on. Anyone know if I can use Adobe Reader to read e-books I purchase off of Amazon? I don't have an e-reader, and there are a few people over at Writers' Huddle that have digital-only books up on Amazon. Although, it might be cheating a bit, using my winnings to support them....

Anyway, I joked that, thanks to the raffle accepting anyone who checks in, even if they don't hit their weekly goal, I got rewarded for not figuring out my story.

I guess that was the encouragement I needed, though, because I DID figure out the rest of chapter 5 shortly after. Actually, once I published last week's post, I hopped in the shower. I was barely in there three minutes when I figured out the Lucky Charm I needed to finish the chapter. Bam, just like that. It almost felt obvious. The rest of the chapter fell into place quickly after.

Problem was, I still had to work on chapters 6 and 7 this past week, and I didn't even start them until Wednesday since I wanted to get chapter 5 done first. I wasn't worried though, because chapters 6 through 8 were already written. I assumed I only needed to clean them up a bit. Much easier and faster than the "writing from scratch" chapters I had just completed.

I even stated in this blog a few weeks back, "at least chapter 6 is a fun one of Cat spying on Marinette yet again, so that one should be quick to revise/edit."

I then READ the chapter!

Good lord, it was bad.

It was obvious that I had written it about half-way through NaNo, and after the emotional and mental drain of losing the first half of my story. I was rambling; trying to get words on the page in a frantic attempt to catch up. I spilled everything from my head onto the paper. Adrien was trying to figure things out, and so I was too. It wasn't pretty. And it was long!

I.... uh.... I don't know if I improved it at all.

See, the problem with chapter 6 is that it would be a lot easier in a visual medium than a solely written one.

Chapter 3 starts five days after chapter 1; five days after Chat Noir accidentally spies on Marinette. Chapters 3 and 4 show Adrien's dynamic with Marinette. I try to keep it about par with the show in regards with Adrien's contradictory crush on Marinette. On the one hand, it's super subtle: more than willing to kiss her during a film their friends are taping, the constant need to call out her name to get her attention whenever he sees her, the constant touching of her shoulders, the glances he gives her later in season 1, the friggen SLOW DANCE in season 2, and even how he looks at the lucky bracelet Marinette gave him. It's easy to just look over everything as "he's just really friendly/comfortable with her" or even "he knows she likes him, so he's subconsciously flirting back." It's so subtle, it's kind of obvious that he doesn't realize he likes her. On the other hand, while the crush IS super subtle, it's just as much BLATANTLY OBVIOUS to anyone who's looking for signs of him crushing on Marinette. I point out the same reasons.

Anyway, my point is, chapters 3 and 4 of PT are supposed to set up that subconscious crush on Mari, so that late in the story, when he finds out she's Ladybug, the reader doesn't feel cheated that he realizes he likes her. The reader already knows this, it's ADRIEN who didn't, and struggles as he wonders if he likes her for her, or does he just like her because she's LB.

Chapter 5 is the akuma attack, which sets up the next chapter.

Chapter 6 takes everything that Adrien, and therefore the reader, learned from that day - chapters 3 through 5 - and applies it to what Adrien discovered throughout the week of spying on Marinette. These things combine to give Adrien the epiphany that Marinette and Ladybug are two sides to the same coin; Adrien not realizing how close to correct he really is.

It wouldn't work if he had this epiphany before chapter 3, and he wouldn't get it in chapter 6 if he hadn't watched Mari for 5 days already. Likewise, I can't really show the days in chronological order between chapters 2 and 3, because by themselves, the observations CN makes don't really move the story along; therefore, they aren't justifiable as their own chapter.

Which leaves revealing CN's week-long spying observations to chapter 6; making it a "recap chapter" as CN flashes back and "montages" the previous three nights. Because he's recapping each night, I can't really add any dialog without slowing the recaps down too much. Instead, each night is restricted to three or four short paragraphs. After the recaps, Adrien needs to have the epiphany that makes the chapter worth keeping in. He does this by using the information he gathered from the five nights of spying, and comparing his new view of Mari to how he views LB. This is more internal dialog since he can't talk to anyone about it, aside from Plagg, who is currently in the Cat Miraculous giving Adrien the power to be CN.

All-in-all, it was almost all show, virtually no tell, and there was no dialog, which just makes the whole thing jumbled and feel like it's rambling. I needed dialog, and I needed a better feel for the whole scene I was cutting down in the recaps. A way to know EXACTLY what would stick out.

So, I spent the week actually doing a LOT of writing. I wrote out the whole scene - from both Adrien's POV and Marinette's - for Adrien and Mari finding Alya and Nino after the akuma attack. I wrote the scene where they decide to forego the rest of their outing, and instead head home, complete with Adrien walking Mari home. I made sure to set the scene of Adrien asking Nathalie about showing Marinette's portfolio to Gabriel. I then wrote out what fully happened each night CN peeked on Marinette.

Once all that was figured out, I then cut every scene down to the aforementioned three or so paragraphs to recap. I also added some dialog this go, which helped a little. The whole thing still feels like a rambling, god awful, jumbled mess. However, it IS better than the original go. I'm sure I can cut down 6800 words to something more manageable....

Poor Cy and Chibi....

Even though I spent the whole week writing pretty much every moment I could steal away, I STILL couldn't catch up on my challenge goal. All because I'm writing a bunch of stuff that does help me better understand my story, like when I wrote The Birth of the Mimicker, but it doesn't add a single word to my actual story.

I did manage to finish chapter 6 by the close of the week, so yay to that. I just need to work on chapter 7.... and 8.... and create a second akuma attack for chapter 9... all before Monday. I can totally do this....

It's not like it kept me almost two full weeks to figure out an akuma, their powers, the Lucky Charm, and how the villain was going to be defeated... Simple.....

Eh, at least I'm keeping pace in my reread of "Lycopolis."

I should probably get back to working on my novel, though. But first, one last group hug with all of you.

I love each and every one of my readers, so thank you all lots for showing me love back! Happy Valentine's Day!
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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Darn These Lucky Charms!

My posts are surpassing 100 hits again. I think the Miraculers are back. So.... Hi again, fellow Miraculers. You won't really find any new info on Miraculous Ladybug here, but you're welcome to stay.

Since I'm talking Miraculous anyway, I have to talk about "Peeping Tomcat." It's..... a slow process. Last week was the official first week of Writers’ Huddle's Winter Writing Challenge. By the end of the first week I wanted to have chapters 6 and 7 edited, revamped, rewritten, whatever I needed to do to have it set for my beta readers in March.

I'm STILL not done with chapter 5 though. I wanted that done before even starting the challenge.

It's the darn Lucky Charm! I just cannot figure out what I want to do for it! I mean, granted, it also kept me a while to figure out my akumatized supervillain, but once I figured that out last Monday I was on a roll. The rest of the chapter worked out fairly well. I was able to salvage some descriptions from the first go at this story I did over NaNo. I'm just stuck on what to do for a Lucky Charm.

For those unfamiliar with the show, Ladybug's main power that she uses to stop every akuma is called Lucky Charm. She's gifted an item that is used to stop the villain long enough for her and Cat Noir to retrieve and break the akumatized item; releasing the person from Hawk Moth's hold and returning them to their civilian form.

These Lucky Charms always force Ladybug to think outside the box. For example, she used a towel Lucky Charm as a makeshift hang-glider; a large packing box to trick a Santa Claus themed villain into thinking he was getting a present, which allowed LB to be close enough to snatch the akumatized item; a spoon as a makeshift fishing hook to tangle the villain and lift him off the ground; an oven mitt as homemade handcuffs; a shoe box as a projector promoting a show the akumatized villain wanted to stop; a power strip as a second yo-yo as she fought five attackers at once; and the foil inner lining of an ice cream bar wrapper as a reflective surface to see through illusions.

More often than not, she has to MacGyver her Lucky Charm into something useful, such as the aforementioned spoon being duct taped to her yo-yo which in turn was attached to Cat Noir's baton in order to make a fishing pole. The shoe box was combined with someone's glasses, a promotional poster for the show the akuma was trying to stop, and the headlights from a nearby bus. The oven mitt was combined with an already existing oven mitt, a belt, and a bracelet.

That's part of the power. Once Ladybug has her charm, she scans the area for clues, which flash in red with black polka dots. Once her vision gives her clues on what other objects she'll need to combine with her charm, she has to mentally put it all together herself.

The combinations she has to come up with in the second season are even more involved. She has to combine a unicycle, multiple rake heads, and Cat Noir's baton for the most recent episode. The one before that she simply gets a motorcycle helmet, and, thanks to her Ladybug Vision, is able to figure out that Cat's baton, three directional street signs, a bus, a bench, a tipped over motorcycle, and two light posts are all needed to stop the villain.

So, in order to stay true to canon, I need to think of something presumably useless for her to get as a Lucky Charm, and then figure out how it's obviously the only way to stop the akuma.


So I've been stalled for two days now. I have a lot of the post-Lucky Charm Use chapter done, but I can only do so much. The way the akuma is stopped could affect small bits of the back end of the chapter. Plus, I'm missing a huge chunk if I don't have her using the Lucky Charm.

And this is just the first akuma attack. I have a second one planned in a few weeks, and at least two more for the sequel. How am I going to do this!? How can my brain not be this creative?


It's no wonder that just about every other Miraculous Ladybug fanfic I've come across has avoided akuma attacks. If they do have them in, they're fought "off screen" with the characters just reflecting back on them. Or, they do fight the akuma, but the fight "fades out" with a simple "Ladybug got her Lucky Charm, figured out how to use it, and saved the day" sort of thing. OOOOOR the even rarer, Ladybug doesn't even use the Lucky Charm to defeat the akuma.... which isn't really accurate at all, because without the charm she can't use her ultimate power of Miraculous Ladybug, where she restores everything to how it was prior to the akuma attack.

I have yet to come across a fanfic or fancomic writer who has attempted to actually think of a Lucky Charm and how Ladybug uses it. Am I the only one brave enough to try? Or have others tried, but failed so miserably that their stories aren't all that well known?

If you are in the fandom and have either read - fic or comic - a story where a Lucky Charm is shown and used, or if you yourself have written one, could you link me in the comments section? I won't steal the idea, but it might help to see how others accomplished this herculean task.

I wracked my brain so much that I actually had quite the interesting dream last night. Sadly, I've been up for a few hours now, so it's not as vivid as when I first woke up, but I was still too groggy to write it down then.

It started off as a Miraculous dream, with Adrien/Cat Noir and Marinette/Ladybug as the main characters, but as the dream went on they morphed into mutants. I think "Glitches" is feeling a bit left out that I haven't worked on anything original since July.

I just have patches now, but the dream started with the heroine being abandoned on a small and remote island. I'm talking super small, like only a couple miles long. Like if Manhattan was still uninhabited. It's a bit blurry now, but either she was abandoned there in an attempt to find an important artifact, or she was left there as bait for the hero who had the artifact, or she was left there in order to ransom the artifact from the hero. One of those three.... Somehow she gets off the island and back home, which looked a lot like Main Street of my home town. I'm sure my mother will have a field day knowing that..... Anyway, apparently before being left on an island, the heroine had roomed with someone else. Again, it's vague since the heroine started as Marinette, but she's living on her own with a roommate, so she's somewhere between 14 and 20.... Really narrowed things down, huh?

Either she made it home and was captured again, or she was "rescued" from the island by the villain, who, along with the hero, resembled Adrien? Either my mind couldn't decide what it wanted, or I'm dealing with an evil twin.... The villain is the same rich boy that Adrien is, but instead of being humbled and isolated by it, the villain uses it to give himself power and entitlement. So.... Chloe.... The villain is "gifted" the heroine by his mother, who is the true villain of the dream. The boy is also given a short sword, which I guess was the artifact the heroine was abandoned on the island for. The son used the sword to mildly sexually assault the heroine. Doing things like threatening to cut her clothes off - he doesn't - and sliding the blade across her exposed skin, which is quite a bit since the mother first forced the heroine to dress in a bare-back dress with long slits up the sides to help expose her legs. At some point, the villain falls asleep, but does so without attempting to first restrain the heroine. This is the part of the dream where I, as the dreamer, thought that maybe the kid was only doing idle threats to seem tough in front of his mom, but in truth, he's not bad. Perhaps he purposely "fell asleep" with the heroine free so she could escape without his mother realizing he let her go.

She steals the sword and races home, but the front door is sealed shut by the police. Yes, I know the police don't actually do this, but I dreampt that they bolted her front door closed along with posting a police notice. Anyway, she breaks in and sees that her house has been ransacked, and her roommate is missing, as is the stray dog they had taken in just before the heroine was brought to the island. Distraught, she wanders her house to try to find any way to contact help and figure out why the police think she's some dangerous criminal on the lam - as indicated by the police notice on the front door.

She finds her cellphone - don't know why it was left behind; dream logic - and tries to call her roommate to see where she disappeared to, is she safe? Before her roommate could answer, there is a whimper at the front door. It's the stray lab they had taken in prior to the start of the dream. Except, he has a couple of people with him. One is the heroine's roommate. Despite the rain, they look dry and pristine. The roommate, who greatly resembles Scarlet Witch from the X-Men comics, admits that she's a mutant and a telepath. They talk about how the heroine - who doesn't really resemble Marinette anymore at this point - is actually a mutant as well, and the roommate was originally there to try to watch over her like a secret guardian. She apologized for failing at her job of protector..... and that's about where I woke up.

I'm not sure what I can grab from this, but it was interesting enough that I might have to tap back into this dream in the future for story ideas.

Now, if my mind could help me figure out a Lucky Charm, that would be great. Either that, or it did, and now I have to figure out how Ladybug uses a short sword to stop a clone army and get visors off the villain..... and she has less than four minutes to MacGyver it all together before Cat Noir transforms back.

On the reading front, I'm nine chapters in my "Lycopolis" re-read, and I'm happy to be reading about Brandon again. I don't know why, but he's my favorite. He's just so quirky, and such an oddball. Maybe he vaguely reminds me of my husband in college? Hubby doesn't have the number thing that Brandon has, though.... Either way, I still say "more Brandon" and hope there is plenty more in the other two books.

I've figured out that if I read at least two chapters each day - an easy task since they seem to average at about five pages; quick read - I can finish the book with a week to spare in the month. Might be able to get a jump start on "Oblivion."
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Alright, this is going to be dangerous, but back to Tumblr and Pintrest to see if other Miraculers have ANYTHING that might inspire me with this Lucky Charm thing so I don't fall even farther behind than I already am!