Tuesday, January 15, 2019

How's 2019 Treating Me?

I've actually been doing pretty well with my writing this week. That's gotta be a first, right?

While it kept me a few more days than I would have liked, I did manage to get the latest chapter of "Woven Heartstrings" up on Sunday, just in time for the Epiphany, otherwise known as Little Christmas. You can check out the chapter at my normal three sites:

"Chapter 4: The Proposition"
On FanFiction            On ArchiveOfOurOwn            On DeviantArt

Oh, and a real quick side note about DeviantArt that amused me. It was only last week that I commented about how my poor chapter 8 of “Peeping Tomcat” - Guilt - was the only chapter on DA that didn't have at least ONE fave. I lamented that it was clearly the weakest chapter, since not a single person favorited it in nearly 8 months.

Well, yesterday I saw this notification on my DA account:
Image cropped down so the notifications can be seen with the date/time on my taskbar
It did it! My poor neglected chapter finally won someone over! Yay! Apparently AndreaDragonheart wasn't impressed with chapter 7 though.....
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
Meh, I'll take the wins where I can get them.

Back to the main part of this week though. Namely, the fact that, while I wasn't able to post as soon or as frequently as I would have liked, I actually DID do fairly decent with writing progress this week.
Check out all of those faces! It's fun to draw them. ^_^
I decided to do "meh" faces for progress that doesn't include narrative writing.
Look at them all! I've only slacked off on three days, and I managed to keep up with my resolution to WRITE - actually get narrative out of my head - at least four days a week. If I make it more broad to include any sort of writing progress at least four days a week, then I'm way ahead of the game. Whoo!

I also started jotting down exactly WHAT it was that I worked on/wrote on those days to help me better know how I'm spending my writing time.
Yeah, excuse the handwriting. It's bad to begin with, but I jot quickly (read: scribble) in my planner.
I had fallen off the wagon for a few months with regards to auditing my time, a practice I desperately needed to get back into since it does make me feel more accountable. I still have far too much time used by video games and Tumblr, but I now SEE that's the case, instead of those gut instincts about it. So I can start weening myself down to more productive levels on those fronts.

I also need to work harder on auditing my after-work hours, since that's where most of the time-suck comes from. It's easy to stay on top of things at work since I can just have my calendar right there, but at home, when I move around more often, and my planner usually stays forgotten in my work bag? Well....
I always seem to die off with this task when the weekend comes along...
Part of my workday mornings consist of me trying to remember what I did the night before so I can jot it down. I also wish these things started at 8 instead of 7 so I didn't feel like such a slacker, and that they kept going until midnight so I didn't have to try to squeeze it in within the margin....

Maybe I'll make my own planner layout to keep in a 3-ring binder or something once this planner runs out in June. That way I'm not wasting the next few months left in this planner by buying a new 2019 one while they're still out. It also saves me from the crazy running around I did last July trying to find an hourly break-down planner. They just don't really have these anymore, at least, they don't really have them mid-year.... Finally, if I made up a planner myself I could have the hours broken down the way I need them to be. I mean, I'm productive at work and all, but for the most part I don't need to know what I did for the 8hrs I'm at work. I need to know what I do with my time while I'm home.

There's a lot to take into consideration over the next few months.

Another benefit of me making my own planner is that I could have my monthly overview - where I put my faces - broken down like the NaNo calendars that Dave Seah creates each year. That way I can also keep track of my writing productivity by way of words written.

I could then, if I am ever bored/intrigued enough, analyze my writing three different ways: how frequently per week/what days I write, how many hours/when in the day I write, and how many words I write per day/week.

I'm getting more and more excited by this idea as I'm writing it all down for you guys. Anyone know of a planner-design program I can use? Or am I going to have to stumble my way through Excel and/or Photoshop?

Anyway, that's a project for Future Me. Present Me is busy finishing up this post.

Present Me is also trying to finish up the next chapter of "Woven Heartstrings."

I was able to get most of my brainstorming done on Sunday. Unlike the first four chapters, where I had a loose idea as to where the story needs to go, but I largely let the characters lead me around, for the final chapters of this story I actually wrote down what I want to do. I actually have a fairly detailed breakdown of the upcoming chapter, as well as skeleton plots for the next chapters as well.

I'm getting really into the nitty-gritty of the chapters now. For instance, I now know that, as long as the characters behave themselves and I don't have to split up chapters, "Woven Heartstrings" will definitely have seven chapters and an epilogue. I also know whose point of view I'll be using for each chapter, since I've been using 3rd-person limited for this narration. My concern with figuring out how to display what has been going on "off-screen" was also figured out. Finally, thanks to the help of Shadow - who is getting ANOTHER name change to Wolfhearted - I have the perfect gift from Adrien to Marinette. I'm excited to have that glorious exchange!

I was able to get nearly 1400 words written yesterday, and my chapters seem to be ranging between 3100 and 3500 per chapter, so I'm a decent chunk into the chapter. I was hoping to FINALLY fall into the rhythm of a 3-day posting schedule - day 1: brainstorm, day 2: write, day 3: edit and post - but it looks like I'm stretching this out to 4 days still, assuming I make the time today to finish the chapter. With any sort of discipline, and luck that life doesn't throw me a curveball, I should have it posted late Wednesday... maybe early Thursday since Wednesdays are pretty packed lately. So keep an eye out for that.

I MAAAAAAAAY even have both chapters 5 and 6 done and published in time for my blog update next week, so that could be fun; sharing both chapters with you at once.

Now, all of this is rotating around my first New Year's Resolution. Let's take a few minutes to break down all five of them, as I have in the past, to see my goal(s) for 2019.

First, since I didn't have the time to do so in December, let's recap how well 2018 worked for me.

Resolution #1: No More Than Three (3) Zero Days In Any Given Week
I was doing so good with this at first, but it ended up falling to the wayside. Every now and again I'd be able to get back on track, but it wasn't very sustainable for me the way I had my life organized last year. The most ironic part - because Irony is my stalker, apparently - is that I think I failed with this resolution the hardest in November, during NaNoWriMo.

Resolution #2: Complete My Personal Reading Challenge
Last year I decided that, while I enjoyed doing the challenges I found online, I was also either missing out on books I wanted to read, or was forcing myself to read more than the 12 books challenged. While the latter seems ideal, the whole point of the challenges was to get me to read AT LEAST 12 books in the first place, forcing myself to read MORE than that was becoming stressful. My alternative was to create my own 12-story-long reading list I was challenging myself to complete. And complete it I did!
I'm going to have to change the Blue/Yellow color scheme for this year
It was too difficult to read everything, in my opinion....
Never did get around to reading "Atlas Shrugged" though....

Resolution #3: Constructively participate on the Writers’ Huddle Forum At Least Once A Week
Weeeeeeell... I was doing well with this, but then Ali Luke decided it just wasn't something she could keep up with anymore. Her writing priorities changed, so we were shifted to a Facebook group instead. We still chat and have the camaraderie, but not to the same level of frequency. I have started posting a TOOOOOOUCH more frequently in my personal writing group. I should add that to my resolutions this year....

Resolution #4: Complete My Four Main WIPs
Whoo boy.... Well... um.... I got one out of four done....

For those who don't know what my main four were, they were "Peeping Tomcat", "One and the Same", a rework of a battle between Devon and Trish, and a fan novelization of the Cirque Du Soleil show Varekai. Clearly I only managed one out of those four. I couldn't quite write fast enough to pump out one per season like I wanted. Still.... one is better than none, especially when it became a larger project than I gave it credit. I'm also about a fifth of the way through OatS, so.... meh?

Resolution #5: Post Some Completed Work At Least Once A Month
I was doing so well with this! Between one-shots on FFN, AO3, and DA, and my shorts on Tumblr, I actually was posting something new - aside from PT chapters - each month! I fell off the horse in October, and couldn't get back on. Still, 9/12 isn't terrible.

I know it wasn't part of my resolutions, but I'm glad I was also able to keep up with my posting schedule for this blog. Sure, a lot of posts were published after my normal noon update, and there were times where I posted a day or two late, but I made sure to have SOMETHING posted nearly every week. I just tripped at the finish line with the craziness of Christmas falling on my normal update day.

All-in-all, while not quite as productive as I would have liked, 2018 was still a much more productive writing year for me than years past. Sadly, that was pretty much the only good thing about 2018, but I'll take it. Like I said at the top of this post: take any win when I can.

What is my outlook on 2019? Even bigger and better, and a much more professional/disciplined writing year. You saw last week what my resolutions were, but let's get a bit more in-depth this go.

Resolution #1: Try yet again to write at least 4 out of 7 days of the week

    As I mentioned last year, this will be my number one resolution every year until it becomes second nature to me. I've been doing fairly decently so far, but the trick is maintaining this schedule, especially when things start to pick up at work, since most of my writing is done there. The other trick is getting back on the horse after it bucks me off.

Resolution #2: Finish and post my fanfic sequel "One and the Same"

    This is going to be my priority after I'm done writing "Woven Heartstrings." Yes, the Christmas-themed story is great practice, and a nice break from OatS, but it is also putting me so far behind. I had the whole first draft of "Peeping Tomcat" done last January, and all I needed to do was edit it. It still kept me until the last weekend of March to have it ready to post. I'm even further behind on OatS, and I had originally wanted to start posting chapters in September! As it is, I won't be ready until April, so I need to step up my game with this.   

Resolution #3: Post at least one new completed story per month

    Yup, same as last year. A "completed" story will be anything from microfics/drabbles on Tumblr, to one-shots on AO3/FFN/DA, to smaller multi-chapter fics like "Woven Heartstrings" posting the final chapter. For the last option, I'm also aiming for these multi-chapter fics to be started and completed within the same month. So, as long as I get WH done by January 24th, I'll count it.

Resolution #4: Win NaNoWriMo again this November

    Thinking ahead a bit with this one. It felt so great to win NaNo two years in a row, and then I just flopped when I tried writing OatS this past November. I don't like that feeling, and I don't want it to hold me back, so I'm aiming to train myself enough throughout the rest of 2019 that I can win NaNoWriMo. Maybe even win easily, depending on the routine and habits I can form by then.

Resolution #5: Continue my weekly blog post routine

    It seems weird that this one is back as a resolution since I've done so well the past two years. However, I'm going to be doing a lot of reworking of my schedule this year in order to try to best set myself for success for the other four resolutions. In all of this shuffling, I fear I might become neglectful of this blog and when it gets posted. Heck, I'm late even today! So I want to make sure it stays a priority.

You guys may have noticed that I don't have a reading challenge included this year. Well, fear not, I am still planning on reading just as much as I have in the past, even if I've kind of slacked off these first two weeks. I just don't have an official challenge figured out yet.

Hubby got me "Armada" by Ernest Cline this Christmas, so that's going to be my January book, and Rick Riordan will have another Trials of Apollo book out this spring, so that's going to be in there too. Another must-read is the book "PARABELLUM: When You Live in Peace, Prepare for War" by a fellow local writing group member Jack Nanuq; whom I have previously called Carson, based on the name of his main character.

Let me pause for a moment to properly promote this book:
How does a POW become a spy? And why? And what the hell is a GALCO? These are only a few of the questions Carson Nowak needs answers to. CARSON NOWAK is a CIA contractor like none you’ve ever met before. Carson is tasked with retrieving a trunk full of documents. The order comes not from the Agency or even the President, but a higher authority; his nana. In addition to the documents the trunk also contains a war relic tied to a mysterious death just before D-Day. Tracing the provenance of this relic triggers a chain of events that not only unlocks Carson’s family history but garners the interest of a South American hit squad. Carson must navigate the challenges of protecting his family, maintaining his business, ensuring the safety of a young refugee developing a revolutionary weapons system, and deal with an infuriating curmudgeon. Along the way he falls in love. To navigate these challenges, he enlists the help of a pencil-thin code breaker, a claustrophobic corpsman and a Haitian nurse. PARABELLUM, the novel, is spy/mystery/thriller novel set in Upstate NY, with flashbacks to both World War I and World War II. PARABELLUM, the word, is a Latin term which loosely translates to “When you live in peace, Prepare for war”.The writing style is a mash-up of C.J. Box meets Daniel Silva, meets John le Carre.
While I have heard this story read to me over the past year-plus that Jack has been with the writing group, I haven't had the pleasure of sitting down with this book to read it cover-to-cover without weeks-long interruptions between chapters. I also haven't seen how he's altered things after our feedback. There has also been times where I'd miss chapters because I had to miss a meeting. So I'm excited to get my hands on this book. You can purchase it as either an ebook or a paperback - or both - on Amazon.

If you're into spy thrillers, and historical fiction, this is a fantastic book to check out. Just trust me when I say you'll want to make sure you have a package of Fig Newton snacks nearby while you read.

Now, going back to my reading challenge.

I have three professional stories to read already on this list. I also still have to work my way up to reading "Atlas Shrugged" at some point, which gives me four. There's also multiple novel-length fanfics I want to read, mostly written by Taurus Pixie, but I have others that were suggested to me.

On top of ALL of that, both Omnibladestrike and Rozsavaria have suggested a long list of dragon-themed stories. I even joked that 2019 would be the Year of the Dragon; focusing most of my reading to these dragon stories.

Once I have all of this better organized into an actual list, and once I have the time to redo my challenge list format so it's easier to read, I'll be sure to post it here. For accountability sake if nothing else.

Okay, I'm now pushing an hour late on publishing this week's post, so just one more thing before I have to jet.

After a bit of a slump, Cyhyr has gotten back into writing, and has been working on daily challenges for this week. So, why not give her some encouragement and some love to help her along. Her focus right now - as it is for me - is her main fandom. She's really into Final Fantasy XV, but even though I'm not in that fandom, I'm greatly enjoying her stuff. So, seriously, guys, give her some love. She deserves it.

Alright, now I REALLY need to kick my butt in gear if I'm going to get a chapter up in the near future. Until next week!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

It's All In The Details

How's everyone's 2019 been so far?

For me, it's been.... interesting. For the most part, I'm upbeat. I'm wearing a warrior attitude and charging head-first into this new year. I'm DETERMINED to make it good. I'm not giving things weight if it's not crucial to my life in one way or another. I'm re-organizing my priorities. I'm loving life.

I've also tripped up twice already, falling into a daily funk of "Nope. Don't want to do anything but sit here in my PJs." So, three steps forward, one back? Still forward progress overall, so I'll take it.

Another snafu is that I SOMEHOW injured my left wrist on Friday. I have not an inkling of a clue as to what the HECK I did. I was kneeling at work to measure something, and then I braced myself on the edge of a piece of furniture as I stood back up, mostly because I'm too out of shape to stand up from a kneeling position without bracing myself....

Anyway, the surface I braced myself on was soft, and I got up straight without tripping or anything. It is a move I'm sure many have done throughout the course of humanity, and a move I KNOW I've done countless times without injury. And yet, SOMEHOW, this time I pressed too hard on my left arm or something? Because a pain shot up through to my shoulder.

Friday evening and all throughout Saturday, I kept my wrist wrapped in an ace bandage. Sadly, due to work injuries at previous employers, I've gotten pretty skilled at wrapping wrists and ankles. Sunday I switched over to wrapping my wrist - and my knee, which decided to join the party randomly - in sports tape. Yesterday the pain was almost unnoticeable, but my wrist is still stiff, and if I bend it at JUUUUUUUUST the right angle the pain flairs up briefly and shootingly. If home care of bandaging, icing, and heat don't get me back to normal by Friday I'm definitely getting it checked out, but right now it seems to be an inconvenience that's healing itself.

To be fair, I've been writing nearly non-stop since I injured myself, which both proves it can't be THAT bad, and that I'm an idiot who's clearly not letting myself fully rest in order to heal.


I've got stories to write, dang it! I can't stop because my off-hand decided it wanted to injure itself!

Speaking of, I actually managed TWO chapters of "Woven Heartstrings" this past week!
Woven Heartstrings
Summary: Chat Noir needs a Christmas gift for Ladybug. Marinette is a very crafty and creative person, so Chat Noir asks her for some help in making a gift for his lady. While hesitant in aiding Chat Noir’s attempts to woo her superhero self, Marinette reluctantly agrees. Although, after a week of working side-by-side with Marinette, Chat Noir’s not so sure he wants to gift the scarf he’s making to Ladybug after all.

Status: Chapter 3 of ? (I don't even know anymore... 7?)

Ships: MariChat with hints of LadyNoir and Adrienette

Rating: K / General Audiences

Universe: This story DOES NOT take place in the “It’s You” universe along with “Peeping Tomcat.”

Spoilers: This story is Season 2 compliant, and therefore has mentions of minor spoilers from Season 2 of Miraculous Ladybug
Yeah, that "I don't even know anymore"? As per usual for me, this story has taken on a life of its own and is taking longer to tell than originally planned. As of right now it seems I'm writing a new chapter for each day that passes in the story. The story started a week before Christmas - I think I figured out that it started on December 18th, but I'll get to that later - so we'll say seven or eight chapters now in total? We'll see where it takes itself.

In the meantime, have fun with the latest two chapters if you haven't read them yet!

"Chapter 2: Crafting"
On FanFiction            On ArchiveOfOurOwn            On DeviantArt

"Chapter 3: Connection"
On FanFiction            On ArchiveOfOurOwn            On DeviantArt

Yeah, sorry for the crappy title for chapter 2... I just.... I dunno, it was a weak chapter for me. It was a struggle to keep people in-character for some reason, the story wasn't going the way I wanted at first, it kept me WAY later than I wanted to write, edit, and post, and by the time I was done I had no further energy to spend another three days coming up with a good title.

In truth "The Request" isn't really gangbusters of a title either.

The only one I really like is "Connection" but I might go back at one point and have each chapter be a yarn, crafting, scarf, and/or crocheting reference.

As of right now though, that's too much effort. Sorry, Taurus Pixie.

Poor titling or no, it's wonderful to see how much love this impromptu story is getting! I'm actually in a little bit of shock at how many faves, follows, kudos, and reviews emails I get daily.

I didn't think to do my normal "24-hr stats" like I did for “Peeping Tomcat”, so these are stat totals thus far: posting of chapter 1 on 12/24 through this writing on 1/8.
FFN: 1,319 views, 36 faves, 53 followers, and 12 reviews
AO3: 1,046 hits, 105 kudos, 12 bookmarks, and 6 comments
DA: 28 views, 4 faves (2 people on 2 different chapters), but no comments

Total Results: 2,393 views, 145 faves, 65 followers, and 18 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 12 likes
A little clarification here. Two people - Seirenpoison and AndreaDragonheart - faved two chapters each on DeviantArt. Seirenpoison, whom you might remember as the lovely lady who drew me some "Peeping Tomcat" fanart, faved the first two chapters of "Woven Heartstrings", while AndreaDragonheart skipped over the first chapter and faved the second and third ones. So, technically there are four faves, but it was the same two people who would have only be able to fave once on any other platform.

I also don't want to take up the space to show the 18 reviews, but here are the main sentiments:
  1. Awwwww!
  2. This is so cute. I'm loving this story.
  3. The emotions are so strong and subtle at the same time. I love the balance.
  4. The characters are spot on!
  5. Your details about crocheting are so amazing.
  6. You're making me want to crochet!!!!
That last one is a surprise to me, but it's been included in like 4 or 5 different reviews. HAHA! Well, good to know my crocheting details are encouraging people to try it - or get back into it - themselves.

As for the Tumblr notes? Well, the announcement of the new story only got a reaction out of Pixie, who liked and reblogged. The announcement of the second chapter garnered seven more likes, but no reblogs. The announcement of the third chapter on Sunday has four more likes thus far, but no reblogs again.

So, I'm not entirely sure where all the views are coming from, but I'm loving it! Especially since I'm also starting to get faves and follows on "Peeping Tomcat" again as a result! Sadly, I wasn't expecting the resurgence, so I don't have the specific stats for the views that came after I posted "Woven Heartstrings." However, here were my stats a week after I posted the final chapter of PT:
FFN: 21,420 views, 138 faves, 212 followers, and 89 reviews
AO3: 6,821 views, 265 kudos, 38 bookmarks, and 30 comments
DA: 454 views, 37 faves, and Seirenpoison commenting on 3 chapters

Total Results: 28,695 views, 440 faves, 250 followers, and 122 reviews
And here are my stats now:
FFN: 29,427 views! 163 faves, 217 followers, and 96 reviews!
AO3: 8,339 views, 302 kudos, 47 bookmarks, and 31* comments
DA: 2,010 views! 39 faves, and Seirenpoison still is my only commenter

Total Results: 39,776 views! 504 faves, 264 followers, and 130 reviews
Can we talk about how the DeviantArt views QUADRUPLED since I finished my story!? Sadly, the 8th chapter Guilt remains the only chapter with no faves... Also, that asterisks after the AO3 comment count is to indicate that those are 31 initial comments. A few of them turned into comment threads between me replying and then getting a response. In total, there are 68 comments on PT.

Also, thanks to emails, I know that PT received at least 5 more kudos on AO3, one new fave on FFN, and 3 new FFN followers since "Woven Heartstrings" went live about 2 weeks ago. I also have a new author follow on FFN.

I guess people want fluffy MariChat stories. Who knew?
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
By the way, that was a joke. Just about everyone knows that Fluffy FanFiction wins the day....

Each chapter of "Woven Heartstrings" also falls between 3,000 and 3,600 words, so they're vastly shorter chapters this go. Another plus, since fanfic readers tend to consume content when they're filling short bursts of time, such as waiting for their next class, waiting for an appointment, riding on their commute, relaxing on their lunch break, as they have their breakfast and/or dinner, just before bed, etc. They don't want to be drawn into a long chapter they might not be able to finish before they have to do their next activity, or when they're trying to unwind to go to sleep.

I get it. Doesn't mean I'm going to stop writing my 11,000 word chapters if the story calls for it, but I get it. I'm sort of an acquired taste. People need to dedicate time to read most of my stuff, instead of my stuff helping them fill the awkward amount of time they already have.

So, it's nice that I have a few one-shots, and now this smaller story with shorter chapters. It's a way to showcase my writing and make people WANT to dedicate the amount of time they'll need to read through "Peeping Tomcat", and in turn "One and the Same" once I'm ready to post that.

Speaking of.... yeah.... I haven't worked on OatS in nearly a month. I've been focused on WH. And I mean FOCUSED. Yesterday I was nervous that I wrote myself into a corner. I knew where I wanted the story to go, but I feared that chapter 3 ended up meandering too far from my original plot. I ended up spending about three hours yesterday trying to figure out where my plot went, and if my original concept would still work.

It doesn't fit EXACTLY how I wanted it to go originally, but I still like the direction the story took me.

But, for reals, I took NOTES on what I'm doing so I won't write a dead-end by accident. Just.... don't look too close at the notes if you want to avoid spoilers.
My main concern was that Adrien was taking too darn long to crochet a blasted scarf! I needed him to have time to do other things for the plot I was working with, but if he spent three days making just a third of a scarf, and the story starts a week before Christmas, would he be done in time!?

Fear not. After going back through what I wrote, I realized my subconscious had it all sorted out for me.

Chapter - and day - one had him practicing how to crochet until he's "perfected" it enough to feel comfortable making his scarf. Chapter - and day - two had him actually starting the scarf, but he's only at Marinette's for a little over two hours, and that's with a few distractions and interruptions. In the end, I think I estimated he finished the evening with the equivalent of, at most, 90mins of work done. In chapter 3 I didn't specify how long he worked on the scarf, but I imagined about 20mins by the fireplace, and then another 2hrs or so at Marinette's.

After scouring the internet for the better part of a half-hour, I found that the average beginner using a half-double stitch and medium weight yarn - both of which are true of Adrien - could complete a scarf in about six hours, if not faster. Again, I was nervous that our little bean was taking WAY longer than that. Day one he spent more than an hour to crochet a 12cm square. Creating a scarf long enough for Ladybug would be roughly 165cm. Yes, a lot of those above notes were me figuring out the proper length of the scarf. I also tried to figure out, if Adrien kept his pace of 12cm per hour, how long would it take him to hit the full 165. It was NOT fast at all.

But I remembered that he was still learning and practicing those first 12cm. When he actually started his scarf on Day 2, he knew, more-or-less, what he was doing, and could therefore work at a faster pace. I figured about a cm - or roughly one row - every 130 seconds. Still a little slow, but he's still a beginner, and his claws could be an issue with the yarn, slowing him down further. I then figured he could move a bit faster - about one row every two minutes - when he was out of costume and didn't have his claws to contend with. He would also start working faster as he became more confident with his skills, as well as no longer being distracted by Marinette.

I slowed him down again as he figured out color switching, but he was mostly monitored by Marinette for that, so his pace didn't slow TOO far.

After probably an hour of doing calculations and mental adjustments to try to keep the crocheting pace "realistic" I was satisfied that I had done it correct all along. I just need to go back and tweak a word or two in chapter 3, but that was mostly because I caught an inconsistency when I went back through my story thus far.

So, uh, YAY, BRAIN! It's good to know I have it all realistically figured out even when I don't have it all realistically figured out.
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc
Also, yes, this is indeed the extreme attention to detail I put into all of my stories. Is it any wonder why it takes me so long to get a chapter up? Or that I'm STILL world building for two different story concepts YEARS later? I'm a stickler for realism, especially in my fantasy stories. If the author can't even figure out a realistic crocheting pace for a beginner, how can you trust them to create a realistic magic consistency?

Details, man. They're a killer.

And once again, I wonder how I can get a job as a script supervisor, because then maybe my attention to details could be useful....

...oddly enough, though, I'm terrible at paying attention to details in my everyday life. Like, if you dyed your hair without warning me that you were going to? If a business just opened on Main Street? If someone is wearing a new blouse or jewelry? If one of my friends GOT A NEW CAR without giving me a heads up? Nope. Not going to notice. At most I'll get an uneasy feeling that something is "off" but lord help me to figure out what....

I'm weird. Okay?

Point is, I have an almost hourly break-down of each day within the story, so I can keep track of what Adrien and Marinette are doing from December 18th through to about 10pm on Christmas. I know the pace Adrien is crocheting at now, and I can make sure he has the time needed for everything I want him to do.

My only remaining issues are Adrien's gift to Marinette, and a way to showcase certain things that I know to be canonically true to my story, but I haven't QUITE figured out how to present them in the story. I think I have time to sort those out though.... for the most part.

So it's back to working on chapter 4 I go, with hopes of being able to pick up the pace a bit faster as I progress: much like Adrien's crocheting.

As for OatS? Fear not, kiddies. I am NOT abandoning this story. I firmly believe working on WH is helping me with this larger project.

As stated above, having smaller, shorter stories like "Woven Heartstrings" is a good way to garner readers, and to prove my writing is worth the time spent reading it.

Trying to get "Woven Heartstrings" done before its too far past Christmas, especially now that I have about four more chapters to write instead of just one, means I'm learning how to write and edit faster, which are skills that can help me out when I get closer to my "End of March/Beginning of April" posting deadline for OatS.

Finally, OatS can quietly brew in the back of my mind while I focus on this story. Have it be a bit of a palette cleanser so I can start fresh and renewed once I'm done with WH. Seeing reviews for my existing stories definitely helps as a motivator as well.

Oh! This post is getting pretty long and I haven't talked about my resolutions again! Well, I guess I'm aiming to chat about them a bit next week, but I'll close out with at least listing them:
  1. Try yet again to write at least 4 out of 7 days of the week. 
  2. Post at least one new completed story per month.
  3. Finish and post my fanfic sequel "One and the Same".
  4. Win NaNoWriMo again this November.
  5. Continue my weekly blog post routine.
What are your resolutions? Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Welcome to 2019

Image by chibird.
See the original on tumblr
While I've always liked to give artists credit for their work, and try to link back to them whenever possible, I've also become more and more sensitive to reposting etiquette and desires of the artist. So, please rest assured that I checked chibird's FAQs to see if a repost is allowed. I am carefully following all of the requested credits.

I'm just glad I can repost, because this image is just too cute and perfect for me to not share. So Happy New Year, everyone! Welcome to 2019!

Whoops! Sorry, guys. Last week turned out a bit more frantic than I originally planned, so I ended up not posting anything at all. A shame, really, since I did have things to talk about. At least I still hit 52 blog posts. We'll just ignore that there was apparently 53 Tuesdays in 2018...

Anyway, instead of this being my normal "Here are my New Year's Resolutions" post or my "Year in Review" post, I'm actually going to talk a bit about my writing. Worse comes to worst, I'll do my Resolutions post next week. Gives me a week to break in the New Year to see how reasonable the resolutions are going to be.

I'm stalling though, so let's just get to it!

In my last post I talked about Jowy's Pixie gifting me and three other friends of hers a Christmas story. Well, first of all, a quick side note. Pixie recently changed her FFN name to Taurus Pixie, probably to match her other online handles on AO3 and Tumblr. So from now on she'll be Taurus Pixie here too, also please note that you're now looking for Taurus Pixie on FFN.

Now back on topic.

Pixie faithfully posted a new chapter EVERY DAY for TWELVE DAYS STRAIGHT in order to have it all done by Christmas Eve. If you want some warm fuzzies to carry the Christmas spirit along for a few more days, please go check out her COMPLETED story:

The story really was incredibly adorable, and I'm still amazed that she could write so well with such a quick turn around. I'm still struggling to get something up once a week! So, if you enjoy Pixie's work as well, please be sure to give her some love by way of likes, kudos, and/or reviews. It means the world to us writers to have people show us how much they enjoyed our work, and she deserves a lot more love. For sure.

Also, she didn't just go with Chat Noir trying to gift everything from The Twelve Days of Christmas to Ladybug. She still thematically included each "gift" into each day/chapter of her story, but the way she did so was inspired and refreshing. Seriously, I can't get enough of this story and I can't say enough about it. The fact that I was one of the gift recipients of this darling tale is just super thick frosting to an already 7-layer cake of awesomeness.

Now, of course her story gave me all the feels. First of all, the story is just GOOD. Secondly, the fact that I got a new chapter to look forward to each day really helped me with the stress of prepping for Christmas. Especially since I was NOT in the mood this year. Third was the idea that, while she discovered “Peeping Tomcat” in May, Pixie and I didn't really go from me thanking her for her reviews to actual online friends until July or so. Which means I was only really friends with her for a few months, and yet she thought about including me with a Christmas gift she was writing for her friends. I could just cry knowing we bonded that quickly.
I really need to redo this
emoji. Does anyone even
recognize this meme anymore?
I wanted to let her know that our newfound friendship meant just as much to me. I wanted her to also have glorious feels like she was making me have. Plus, I needed something Christmas-y as a bit of a palate cleanser to help refresh my work on "One and the Same" and get me in the Christmas spirit.

So I asked her what her favorite corner of the Love Square is, and what kind of stuff would she like to read. After some personal debate, she landed on MariChat, and "fluffy hanging out on the balcony" as well as "there's not enough Nurse Chat Noir" fics.

Well, I DID come up with something for all of those suggestions, but it didn't seem "Christmas-y enough" so I shoved it all to the back-burner and started again. Doing so pushed me back a bit, and my story - as per usual - ended up being more involved than I initially gave it credit for. What should have been a 4000-word one-shot turned into at least 4 plotted chapters. I was going to try to have the whole story written and revised - to make sure I didn't need to tweak anything chapter by chapter to fill plot holes - but it was taking too long.

So, on Christmas Eve, just a few hours before Pixie posted her last chapter of TDoC, I posted my first chapter of my story gift to her.
Woven Heartstrings
Summary: Chat Noir needs a Christmas gift for Ladybug. Marinette is a very crafty and creative person, so Chat Noir asks her for some help in making a gift for his lady. While hesitant in aiding Chat Noir’s attempts to woo her superhero self, Marinette reluctantly agrees. Although, after a week of working side-by-side with Marinette, Chat Noir’s not so sure he wants to gift the scarf he’s making to Ladybug after all.

Status: Chapter 1 of 4 (? I think it will be 4 when all is said and done…)

Ships: MariChat with hints of LadyNoir and Adrienette

Rating: K / General Audiences

Universe: This story DOES NOT take place in the “It’s You” universe along with “Peeping Tomcat.”

Spoilers: This story is Season 2 compliant, and therefore has mentions of minor spoilers from Season 2 of Miraculous Ladybug
By the way, coming up with cover art for my fanfics is HARD, man! I wanted something quick and simple since I didn't have much free time the past two weeks. And yet, creating that striped scarf, and coming up with a way to symbolize Chat Noir and Marinette still kept me TWO HOURS to do! If I were more artistically inclined I probably could have whipped this out a lot faster. However, considering, I think I did alright for only being able to doctor pictures, and therefore needing to find the base pictures online first. That took up 45 minutes easily: finding a base scarf I liked, a high-quality Chat Noir symbol, and a high-quality Marinette Signature logo. I do wish I knew who re-created the Marinette logo from her purse and accessories. It was so wonderfully done.

Coming up with a title was equally difficult. I tried and tried and tried to come up with something. Something that, in an instant, told people it was a fluffy story. Something that would let people know crafting was involved. Something that told people that things were going to become unexpectedly complicated and/or there would be significant bonding between characters. I also wanted something to let people know it's a Christmas themed story, but I couldn't tie it all together.

I kept landing on Christmas Pine, but the main theme of this story isn't actually about pining for someone. I mean, I guess it could be an underlining theme, but the pun hints at more angst than there should be in the final result of my tale. There's no reference to Christmas trees, as far as I know, to a significant degree in my story either. So either way, the title wasn't going to work. Shame, though, because it's a decent title, and I figured it out fairly quickly. Instead, I had to suffer three full days of trying to figure out what to name this silly story.

Christmas Eve I woke up to an alert on my phone. Every day at about 8am, my Dictionary.com app alerts me to the Word of the Day. The word that day was Heartstrings.

BINGO! Chat Noir is crocheting in my story, and the whole point of his making a scarf is to show how much he cares. He wants the gift for Ladybug to be a reminder of how much she's loved. The word Heartstrings seemed perfect.


Until I went to do my usual title check. Now, it's perfectly fine to title your story the same thing someone else titled theirs. It happens all the time with professional books, movies, and songs. It happens frequently for fanfiction as well. However, I try my hardest to have as unique a title as possible. I find it's easier for people to find my story that way. It helps me stand out. Plus, I don't like accidentally riding the coattails of another story. For example, someone heard "Heartstrings" is a fantastic Miraculous Ladybug story, but they don't know who wrote the story, and therefore accidentally reads mine instead of the one they were looking for. I mean, it's a great way to capture readers I wouldn't have otherwise received, but it just feels shady to me.

And lo and behold, there is indeed already a very popular ML fanfic called "Heartstrings." It's by taylortot, was completed May 2016, is over 60,000 words long, and is clearly popular. As of this writing, it has had 385,742 hits! There are 1703 comments, 2675 bookmarks, and 15,147 kudos. I have it bookmarked to read later since this story is clearly a winner and very popular in the fandom. I'll let you know my thoughts when I get around to reading it.

In the meantime, feel free to check it out yourself:
Summary: One of Marinette’s rare unlucky days turns into something treacherous. Thanks to a certain cat, the real danger passes, but there are other things to be more afraid of. Her heart, for example, might be one of them.

Rating: Teen

Warnings: The story is listed as "No Archive Warnings Apply" but additional tags has "read at your own risk holy shit"
Point is, this was exactly what I feared. What if someone looked for taylortot's story after being told "You HAVE to read Heartstrings" and ended up on my story? Worse yet, what if someone MEANT to suggest MY story, but forgot to mention "LycoRogue's story Heartstrings" and I ended up LOSING readers to taylortot?

Anyway, after my "perfect" title was a bust, I spent another 2 or 3 hours Christmas Eve morning going "WHAT AM I GOING TO CALL THIS DARN THING!? I NEED TO GET AT LEAST THE FIRST CHAPTER UP FOR PIXIE!"

Finally - thank god for shower thoughts - I realized that Woven Heartstrings would be perfect. I just needed to confirm one thing: is crochet considered a type of weaving? The Google answer is yes, checking on FFN and AO3 resulted in no other story with that title - Miraculous Ladybug or otherwise, and thus I could move on.

Have I ever mentioned before how much I hate naming things?

Anyway, chapter 1 of "Woven Heartstrings" went up, and it had a decent reception, given that everyone was probably spending time with their family this past week.

Most importantly, Pixie seems to like it.

Taurus Pixie: I'm dead. You've killed me. I've died from cuteness!!!!! I can't believe you've done this for me! I'm speechless! Speechless and dead! Just...AAHHHHHHHH! One of my favourite writers and most amazing friends of all time has written a fanfiction for me in her usual awesome quality that makes me just want to scream for eternity over how true to the show it is and how sweet it is! Eeeeeeek! I really don't know what to say! This is already so amazing! The images of Chat trying to crochet are just so adorable! It was great to see him and Marinette spending time together. How ironic that Marinette is helping Chat Noir make a gift for HERSELF! I couldn't help but get a chuckle out of that. But awww, bless Chat Noir so much! He really wants to do something special for her! Awww he's such a cute kitty, too pure for this world. I'm super excited to see where this goes! I can already imagine that you're going to cause my teeth to melt out of my head. You have such a wonderful talent for creating the most adorable moments between the characters!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
So I consider that a win.

I had every intention of finishing the rest of the story on Christmas Eve so I could at least post a polished Chapter 2 on Christmas. That didn't happen.

I had every intention of writing up a blog post on Christmas Eve, talking about all of this "Woven Heartstrings" stuff, that way it was all set for Christmas Day. That also didn't happen.

I had every intention of doing either of those things Christmas morning after Hubby and I exchanged gifts, since we didn't need to be at the in-laws' until 2pm. Bet you could guess that also didn't happen.

As I mentioned at the start of this blog, I just wasn't feeling the Holiday Season this year. I've actually felt the "holy crap, I'm burnt out and overwhelmed and just want to hide in this corner of the couch" season this year. So the apartment fell to disaster, and my "Holy crud! We need to clean for Christmas" panic couldn't even get it all done in time. Hubby and I stayed up until about 3am on December 23rd trying to clean the house. After dropping him off at work at about 7am on Christmas Eve, I worked on titling my story, editing that first chapter, and creating the cover. After "wasting" a collective 5hrs on that project I went "Well, there went MY day" and stayed up until 1am or so trying to clean some more. I ended up collapsing with just Hubby's presents "wrapped" - read: thrown in gift bags with tissue paper, because it's quick - and the Christmas tree up without any ornaments on it.

Hubby stayed up until 4 or 5am to finish the basic cleaning for Christmas, wrapping everyone else's gifts, and fluffing/decorating the tree for me. When he finally came to bed and accidentally woke me up, he figured he'd show me his impromptu Christmas gift to me. And yes, I did weep that he stayed up late to decorate the stupid tree so it would feel more like Christmas for me.

Needless to say, after that first chapter, I just didn't have free-time to write. Also needless to say, we ended up sleeping in a little bit on Christmas itself. After returning home from the in-laws' we watched a Christmas movie to "stay in the mood" before I went back to frantic cleaning for my family's visit this weekend.

That took the rest of my week. If I wasn't at work or at zumba I was organizing/cleaning/scrubbing down my home so it looked like we were proper adults by the time my family came to visit. This also meant that writing anything took a back seat. Hence me not getting a blog post up last week. It sort of bugged me though, because I SHOULD have had time at work at least to finish editing the second chapter of "Woven Heartstrings" so I could get that up. I even stated in multiple places online that it should have been up. Buuuuut, things at work actually needed my attention, and so I didn't have the free time there either.

Darn work making me work.
Ya-Ya Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
Friday, just as Hubby and I finished as much cleaning as we were going to manage, my mom and sister arrived for the weekend. Then, on Sunday, Shadow popped in so we could catch up on Miraculous Ladybug episodes - he needed to see the Season 2 finale still, as well as the Season 3 premiere - and that surprisingly took us about four hours to do. Granted, we chatted, and interrupted the episodes with our commentary and freak-outs, and I introduced him to "The Seven Deadly Sins" anime, and we did a food run..... Still....

Just as we were finishing our mini-marathon, Hubby came home from work, and two more friends popped in for gift-exchanges and games. About 9:30/10pm yet another friend popped in for more game night. Eventually I just went "It's midnight. I need sleep" and crashed while Hubby continued to play host. Soooooo, no real writing then either.

Although, as Shadow and I did our freak-outs and commentary on episodes, he laughed at me and told me I should do reviews on YouTube because I get.... shall we say fired up?

I don't know if I'll ever find the time needed to do videos, but I did take that energy and created two posts on Tumblr as my commentary on the latest episode.

Surprisingly enough, they both actually really blew up.... well, for me.... They're still at less than 1000 notes, so it's small peanuts, but I'm in the 100s with each post, which is big for me. I guess I'm starting to get noticed in the fandom, which is kinda cool.

The first one is just a cheeky little paragraph observation that has over 200 notes, including 16 reblogs. The other one is roughly essay-length with pictorial evidence of my headcanon. It has nearly 200 notes, including 27 reblogs.

It just amuses me to log onto Tumblr and have my dash look like this:
Granted, most of the likes and reblogs from this list are reblogs I had on my wall,
but there's still the two original posts I talked about above featured in this list.
For those wondering, the original posts are called "Adrien's View of Glaciator's Balcony Scene" and "Marinette Getting Salty..."

If this is what my dash looks like with barely any likes/reblogs of my stuff, comparatively, I can only imagine what it's like to be a popular artist/writer/celeb/whatever on Tumblr and have your post liked thousands of times....

Regardless, I'm now up to 76 followers. Again, nothing major in the grand scheme of things, but that includes 7 new followers since Sunday. Which is pretty neat if you take into consideration that I have 76 followers after being on Tumblr for about 9 months....

So I'm just enjoying the fact that I'm semi-noticed in the fandom. I need to keep up with commentary, theories, and headcanons I guess. I mean, I'd prefer to be the type of person who can get her act together enough to post a SHORT drabble of a one-shot at least once a week and become noticed THAT way, but I'll take what I can get. No such thing as bad publicity, right?

Well, I had to work today, so I spent last night - before celebrating with the Hubby and watching the ball drop - writing the first draft of this post. Which yet again means no work on "Woven Heartstrings." It also means I did not finish the first draft of "One and the Same" before the close of 2018 like I wanted.

Oh well. Screw 2018. It was trash for so many of us. Writing wise, while not as good as I would have liked, it WAS a good year.... for 8 months of it. But let's see if 2019 is better. Let's see if I can take what I learned from this past year and improve myself for this new year.

I will try to work hard to get chapter 2 of "Woven Heartstrings" FINALLY done for next week, as well as have my New Year Resolutions figured out to share.

Until then, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Behold! The Beauty of Arts and Crafts!

I apologize, but before anything else, I have to squee about something. Sorry if you follow my tumblr or already saw this on my personal facebook page, but I have to squee EVERYWHERE about this.

EdenDaphne finished my commission of Willow! I got the email yesterday, and I've been bouncing all over the walls about it since.
Maki Natsuo from Love Lab
created by Ruri Miyahara
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc
*Ahem* Anyway, without further ado, EdenDaphne's drawing of Willow:
Comparatively, let's check out what I was able to come up with over the years....

So much Willow! I love it! I love it! I love it!

I was also a bit impatient when I got the line-art for Willow about a week or so ago, so, while I was bored at work, I decided to try my own hand at coloring her. Considering I was on my phone and using one of those pens with the stylus on the back, I don't think it's all that bad....
The shoes got a bit derpy because I hit the
bottom edge of the screen while re-doing
the line art.
Clearly Eden's coloring was better - her shoes actually look like sneakers while mine look like they belong in a bowling alley - but again, I don't think I did too shabby considering it's the first time I ever attempted to color on a cell phone.... Also, I'm impressed with the way I was able to make Willow's belt sparkle, and how I streaked her hair.

Anyway, if you couldn't tell, I'm beyond excited for this! Now to save up another $70, and wait for Eden to open commissions again, so I can have another one of My Girls drawn.... who next time though? Trish, Lia, Amara, or Jolene? Maybe Lia. Poor girl hasn't really had any love in the past two years. Amara's on the same boat, but I need to solidify where all of her scars are first so Eden knows if she has to have any showing....

Eden wasn't the only one crafting though, and coloring my line-art preview of Willow wasn't the only crafting *I* did.

ChibiSunnie hasn't had a very good year, loves penguins, and is always so kind as to draw me a birthday and a Christmas card each year. I wanted to do something for her in return. So I spent about a week or so crocheting. The beak and eyes look kind of wonky on this poor thing, but otherwise I'm happy with it.

The scarf is detachable, just wrapped
around and knotted in place like
a real scarf.
I had used transitional blue yarn - it went from the light blue of the face to the dark blue of the eyes - but the craft didn't use enough of the yarn for it to ever really transition. The flippers/wings are a slightly darker shade, but that's it....

I don't know if Chibi gave her penguin a gender, but she named it Chibird, after the inspirational artist we both follow on tumblr. Mostly because Chibird compiled her artwork into a book called Loading Penguin Hugs, which I also gifted Chibi for Christmas, and the penguin on the cover is blue.
You can get your own copy of
Loading Penguin Hugs on Amazon.
It really is an adorable book, and comes with stickers! It's less than $10, so why not give it a look and see if it's a nice pick-me-up/stocking stuffer for yourself or someone you know? Spread the love.

Anyway, you guys don't come here every week to see arts and crafts per se. You're here mostly to find out more about my writing, correct?

Well, guess what? I did that too! Quite a bit, actually.... 4616 words worth. Which is more than any week during this year's NaNo... Figures.

I kept getting flashes of the last chapter for "One and the Same." Basically, it's this closing to the “Peeping Tomcat” mess/epic that made me want to write this sequel in the first place. I instantly thought how perfect it would be if that final scene paralleled "You've Got Mail": they'd be in the park outside Marinette's home, Adrien would walk up, Marinette would see Plagg and tear up as she realizes Adrien and Chat Noir were the same person that whole time, Adrien would dab her tears away and tell her "Don't cry, Ladybug," and they'd live happily ever after.

Well, fret not, readers who are probably mad that I dropped a spoiler like that without warning, because.... well... the ending took a... shall we say DIFFERENT turn.

What I'm about to say may be a bit obvious, but technically there's spoilers ahead centering around what should be the climactic tension of OatS. So feel free to breeze by if you don't want even slight hints....
Anyway, the "You've Got Mail" ending, while sweet and the whole inspiration for OatS, just made Marinette forgive Adrien/Chat Noir too easily. What's the point of climatic tension if it's resolved simply because Chat Noir was Adrien the whole time? How could Marinette be instantly okay with Chat Noir's spying in PT upon realizing "Oh, it was Adrien!"? It was too shallow. Too quick. It sent the wrong message. There were all sorts of red flags.

I kept thinking "Maybe if Marinette found out about Chat Noir's spying as the mid-point, it would give me the second half of the book to rebuild their trust." I mean, the whole point of YGM is that Kathleen hated Joe, but he managed to regain her trust and friendship before she ended up falling in love with him. It would work, and maybe one day I'll write another take, another reason why Marinette would be mad at Chat Noir, so it fits YGM like I wanted. But this story doesn't seem to want to take that direction.

What could be a higher tension point then Marinette finding out everything that happened in PT? I had originally written a plot skeleton where Marinette does indeed ask for Chat Noir's ring back since she can't trust him as an ally, and then Master Fu talked her into giving it back. It got too messy though. First and foremost, how was she going to take back his ring without finding out who he was? If she had him give back the ring, and therefore reveal himself as Adrien to her, how would she react? How would she be around Adrien from that point on?

It just.... the story took a dark turn. A fun turn. One I might explore in a different fanfic, but it just wasn't the direction I wanted OatS to go.

So I was back with the dilemma that Marinette was too forgiving of Chat Noir too soon. Plus, the girl is intelligent, so the fact that she didn't figure out who Chat Noir was before Plagg revealed himself felt wrong for me.

That's when I got those sparks for the final chapter. Basically, Marinette wondered why, if Chat Noir knew Ladybug was Marinette the whole time, did he keep pushing Marinette to confess her love to Adrien? It didn't add up for her. Until it did.

That was supposed to be the ending. She figured it out, and then her and Adrien would have talks about the whole thing. It really helped me with the whole "If they fought because she didn't want to know who Chat Noir was, why did Adrien show up to their date with Plagg in full view for her to know who Chat Noir was?" problem. He didn't randomly decide to tell her anyway, she figured it out and confronted him! Boom!

The problem was, the moment she figured it out was too good of a stopping point. I couldn't continue the chapter. My readers need a week to freak out at me, and I'm evilly waiting for that week with building anticipation.

So what I thought was my final chapter turned out to be the penultimate chapter. How do I keep doing that? The same thing happened to PT. I keep going into what I think is the last chapter, only for the characters to be like "Eeeeeh.... we actually have a LIIIIITTLE bit more story to tell."

And therein lies my current problem. Up until this chapter I've been fairly good at ping-ponging the story. It's in Marinette's first-person POV, the next chapter is in Adrien's, then back to Marinette, then back to Adrien, etc. However, the final chapter - when Marinette deals with the emotions of discovering her partner and the boy she's been pining for are the same guy - SHOULD be in her POV, shouldn't it? But the previous chapter - when she all but proved that Adrien is Chat Noir - HAS to be in her POV. Do I give up my formatting at the very end of the story and have two Marinette chapters in a row? Do I switch over to Adrien, giving them equal number of chapters to tell the story, and keeping the formatting? What about Marinette's insight though? Do I go real avant-garde and ping-pong first person POV within the chapter? Using line breaks and names to signal to the reader that the POV just switched? Do I conclude with the same scene being played twice: one chapter with Adrien's POV, and then the same scene retold in the next chapter via Marinette's POV?

If you skipped that whole chunk, the spoiler-free long-and-short is Things Got Messy In The First Draft Of The Final Chapter; Now I Have POV Issues.

I don't know whose story the final chapter is. Should I be in Adrien's head at the conclusion of the story, letting him tell the audience what happened? Should I be in Marinette's head and have her tell everyone how things went down? Do I go a bit experimental and ping-pong between them within the chapter itself?

What I THOUGHT was going to be the final chapter turned out to be a 2400-word penultimate chapter, which will be lengthened because it needs a proper opening. I sort of just jumped in mid-action without any context because *I* know the context, and I wanted to get the meat of the chapter out of my head first.

That chapter ended up adding one more loose end to tie up so I could conclude this thing.

Oh, and by the way, don't get too excited. I'm still jumping all over the place with this story. I have yet to write most of the middle.

Anyway, with this final chapter - or what should be the final chapter, unless the characters throw me off a second time - I don't know which direction to go. There's a lot there that I want to be in Adrien's head for, but I always pictured the final chapter needing to be told through Marinette's eyes. While there's a lot going on with Adrien, OatS was supposed to be Marinette's story for the most part. She's the one who has to be hit with a bunch of stuff: the repercussions from "Peeping Tomcat", feelings being torn between Adrien and Chat Noir, the struggle between wanting to know who CN is vs the need to keep identities secret, etc.

Not really sure where to go and not wanting to end my momentum, I decided to just break format and write the final chapter in third person. Hop into whomever's head I need. Then, once I'm done with the chapter, I'll go back and see who was the one really telling that chapter, and rewrite using that person's first person POV.

Problem is.... 2200 words in and I'm still torn. Adrien seems to be bogarting the chapter, but there are still crucial bits of info that only Marinette would know. Plus, I still want her reaction to everything....

I'm seriously leaning towards ping-ponging 1st person POV in the final chapter, and just make sure I transition well enough and have their voices distinct enough that it won't get confusing.

In the meantime, it's fun emotionally torturing these poor kids. I'm a horrible human being.

OH! Speaking of torturing these little beans, Jowy's Pixie has a new story up! She actually gifted it to me and three other friends of hers: TLOS21, ChibiRinni, and oh-calliope! How cool is that!? We have a STORY as a Christmas gift from her? Soooooo coooooool!
Maki Natsuo from Love Lab
created by Ruri Miyahara
What's really the most awesome thing about it is the fact that she's writing it based on the 12 Days of Christmas. So each day, for twelve days, she's posting a new chapter of her story. Let's say that again.




How amazing is that? Such a quick turn around! Bravo to her. If you're at all in the fandom, feel free to give this girl some love:

Christmas is fast approaching, and Chat Noir is determined to get Ladybug the perfect gift. The problem is, they all keep going disastrously wrong. Will Chat Noir be able to find Ladybug the perfect gift in time?
I just adore this story. If you know anything about the Miraculous Ladybug chibi episodes on YouTube, know that Pixie writes TDoC the way the chibi episodes SHOULD be written. I'm just gobbling this story up and loving that daily email telling me the next chapter is live.

Oh, and speaking of Christmas, next Tuesday does fall on Christmas itself, so I'm not sure if I'll have my post up as per usual. It may be up Monday night, or written ahead of time and scheduled for my normal post time, or I may work on it Wednesday instead.

So, if you haven't yet, why not check out that right panel of my blog? There's a spot there for you to sign up for email alerts, or you can drop me in your RSS feed... assuming people still use those.

Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter or on Tumblr. I'm @LycoRogue in both spots. I do tend to fall a bit behind with my promotions lately, unfortunately. Priority is to get the post up, and then get errands done. If I don't have time between those two my promotional posts tend to be late.

So those email alerts are probably your best bet. I have nothing to do with those, they're all computer generated, so you KNOW they'll be on-time.

Anyway, until... some time next week.