Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Busy Little Beaver

It is drizzling at 8:30 in the morning during the last full week of October in the Northeast of the United States. I should NOT be writing this post while still enjoying my front porch! I mean, I LOVE that I am, don't get me wrong, but.... um.... this should NOT still be my view while working on this post:
Especially since I'm just in a simple long-sleeve jersey tee. No sweater. No scarf. No jacket. I even have the sleeves pushed up a bit.

Silly Mother Nature.....

Anyway, it IS the tail end of October, which also means it is a week from Halloween. Well, thanks to me trying to get into the "Halloween Spirit" this month, I have been listening to my Halloween Playlist over on YouTube, and inspiration struck!

It was because of this lovely little easter egg song from the Left 4 Dead 2 video game. The Left 4 Dead series is a first-person shooter during the zombie apocalypse. For the second game in the series, the developers went to comedic song writer Jonathan Coulton, who was riding a new level of popularity after writing the song "Still Alive" for the closing credits of the Portal game. Coulton wrote a zombie-themed song that Left 4 Dead 2 ended up using as an easter egg song on a functioning jukebox within the game. If the players listen to the song long enough a horde of zombies shows up at the chorus.

Anyway, it's an amusing "group participation" song that I love listening to every October. Give it a listen yourself.
About two weeks ago, after listening to this song multiple times nearly every day for the first half of October, I just had this nagging thought about how much fun it would be to take the story already presented within the song and converting it into a written narrative. You know how writers keep commenting about waiting for that story to just "grab" you and "force" you to write it because you can't focus on anything else? Yeah. It was like that.

On top of that "need" to write this story, I had joined a fanfiction group on Facebook close to two months ago, and to celebrate hitting something like 2000 members, they came up with the challenge of writing something Halloween themed. I was so focused on the "Miraculous Ladybug" story for next month that I couldn't think of anything Halloween-themed that I wanted to do for a one-shot.

To finish the trifecta, there is another very popular fanfiction site other than fanfiction.net. It's called Archive of Our Own, or AO3 for short. The site only allows x-number of people to join at a time, and so it has a bit of a waiting list as more and more people decide to post there instead of on other sites, such as FF.net, largely due to the growing community and better site formatting; more user friendly. I knew of AO3 for quite some time now, but it was only recently that I was strongly encouraged to try to join. I've read some ML fanfics on AO3 without being a member, and the formatting just for reading did seem much better. Especially since you can download a PDF of the story, which is great for when I want to read it during my downtime at work, where I don't have wifi access.

After about a month on the waiting list, I got my letter of approval from AO3. I officially had my account, but wasn't sure what to post there. I could transfer over everything I had on FF.net, but I wanted to make sure of two things for AO3: 1) that the story was polished, and I didn't want to take the time to edit my older stuff to make sure it was up to par, and 2) that the story was complete. I didn't want AO3 readers left dangling like I did with my readers on FF.net or DA. I still had a few valid options to transfer over to AO3, and I did start the process of porting over my "Hey, Arnold!" stories a couple days ago. However, I wanted my first story on AO3 to be current. To be new. I figured I was going to have to wait until I was done with "Peeping Tomcat" before I could participate on AO3.

Then I had that story pop into my head thanks to Coulton's song. It just worked beautifully. It was kind of a palate cleanser after struggling with plotting out PT for so long. It could work for the Halloween-themed challenge on my Facebook group. I had something to post on AO3 to officially start up my account.

You can check out the story in either of my two original sites - DeviantArt or FanFiction.net - but you can now find it on AO3!

"RE: Your Brains"

It's kind of exciting! Sure, I didn't get that many hits and I haven't gotten any "kudos" yet... the AO3 version of "favorites" I guess? Whatever the equivalent, it means other members really liked your stuff. Point is, I haven't really gotten much love for the story. Then again, it is such an odd bit of "fanfiction" that I wasn't even really sure what fandom to put it in. Coulton's songs actually have something like 50 stories on AO3 based on them, and mine is the second one based on the song "Re: Your Brains." Plus, people in the Left 4 Dead fandom aren't exactly going to look for a story based on a song that was an easter egg in the second game. So, the readership isn't there.

Still, I enjoyed writing the story, even if it isn't the best thing I've done. The tale is out of my head and I can move on. I have something up on AO3. I participated in the fanfiction challenge. I still have 36 hits since I posted it four days ago. I haven't received any hate on the story. That's enough for me.

Now to try to get back to the ML fanfic for next week! Yeah! NaNo is NEXT WEEK! A week from tomorrow I start working on trying for that 50,000 word goal again.

And yet, because I was so fixated on that zombie fic, I haven't really advanced much of anything for the Peeping Tomcat plot. I think I settled on the order of:
  • Adrien, as Cat Noir, spies on Marinette
  • Adrien becomes addicted to his innocent voyeurism
  • Adrien begins to realize he has romantic feelings for Marinette, but isn't sure what to make of them since he still strongly believes he loves Ladybug
  • As Cat Noir, Adrien discovers that Marinette is LB
  • Adrien again has to sort through his feelings, but decides that he does love both sides of Marinette and is even more excited about the prospect of being with her finally
  • Adrien realizes that LB doesn't have romantic feelings for CN, so even if he could woo her as Adrien - unknowing that he doesn't need to win her over - what would the point be if she doesn't like Cat Noir romantically?
I think I'm going to end it like that. Mainly, it's because, as dense as Adrien may be, once he realizes that Marinette and Ladybug are the same person he may realize that the reason LB has no interest in CN is because she loves Adrien. It's kind of like how Adrien didn't romantically give Marinette the time of day at first because of his love for his partner. I couldn't have Adrien realize Marinette likes his civilian half in this story. It would make things too neat for him to figure out.

Also, as I mentioned last week, I already have a "You've Got Mail" inspired sequel in mind called "One and the Same." I even got the DVD of "You've Got Mail" over the past week, so I'm all set to watch that and write the sequel. I just need to finish "Peeping Tomcat" first. I think, since Kathleen and Joe didn't realize the romantic feelings they had for each other at first, that having that last reveal for Adrien - that Marinette loves his civilian side - as well as having Marinette find out that Adrien and Cat Noir are one and the same will be nice layering for that sequel story. Plus, it cleans up some awkwardness for PT since I just can't figure out where to slot in Marinette's feelings for Adrien among his own discovery of his feelings for her and her being LB.


Anyway, for "One and the Same" I think it's going to be roughly:
  • Headline akuma attack to remind Adrien how dangerous it is that he knows who LB truly is, and that he shouldn't just outright reveal himself either. This recaps PT for the reader to catch them up.
  • Adrien, in his struggle to figure out how to get Marinette to fall for his CN personality, finds out that Mari loves his civilian half.
  • Adrien uses this knowledge to his advantage and chaos ensues as he slowly works in some more of his CN playfulness whenever he can around Mari, while also having CN interact with Mari more to try to win her over that way. 
    • The same way Joe wins over Kathleen before allowing her to know that NY152 is him. Again, I'm going to have to watch the movie to get a feel for how Joe does it, and therefore how CN should do it.
  • I'll have to figure out a mechanic here so that Marinette thinks she could have a potential relationship with CN, which would never happen if she thinks he's still madly in love with only LB. Either all his Adrien-teasing has to be to LB instead of Marinette, or he has to tell LB that he's moving on.... I'll figure it out when I'm closer to writing this story.
  • Right when Mari is about to break because she's torn between Adrien, who is finally showing romantic interest back to her, and her budding feelings for CN, Adrien reveals himself to be her superhero partner; making her elated that CN is exactly who she wanted him to be.
Oh, the plot bunnies! I STILL have the Varekai story to write as well! I'm going to be busy for quite some time.

On the Varekai front, not only do I have the show mid-November to watch, but I also created Icarus for a D&D campaign that I just joined with my Hubby. The DM is using the most recent version of D&D: 5.0. I had no clue what I wanted to do with this new version of the game, as well as for the campaign as a whole. So I did a "random roll" where I basically rolled dice corresponding to the amount of race options I had available. The first three that had their number come up thrice were the top contenders. I was then going to roll one last time to see which one's number came up three times first.

However, one of my top three contenders ended up being the race known as the Aasimar. They are basically descendants of angels.
The Varekai story was still tapping at the front of my brain, waiting for the ML ones to get out of the way. I also recently wore my Icarus Communications sweatshirt. I was drawn to this race and decided I was just going to make Icarus.

I haven't quite figured out MY version of Icarus, but he's a weird blend of four "established" versions.
He has the blue skin and orange hair of the Icarus Communications mascot:
Designed by the Icarus Communications art director
"Brought to life" by artist and animator Tom Pollock Jr
He has the arrogant bravery and unbridled call to impulsiveness that derives from the portrayal of the original Icarus of Greek mythology.

He also has the seemingly dimwitted but adorable sweetness of the Icarus from Disney's Hercules TV series:
While I'm not sure if I'm going to keep Disney Icarus' quick turn to anger out of spiteful jealousy, I am keeping his obsession over Cassandra, but making my Icarus obsessed over the Sun instead. In doing so, I might inadvertently give him a little of the Icarus personality from this artist's series:
Series "Icarus and the Sun" by Picolo-kun on DeviantArt
aka: Gabriel Picolo
His take is that Icarus is made entirely of wax. Such a heart breaking series. The guy is super good!

Anyway, the final official inspiration for my D&D Icarus is of course the Icarus of Varekai: a bit bewildered as to his new surroundings as he slowly tries to acclimate himself to the life he's now living; resolved that he will never return to his old life. What was his abandoned old life? I don't know. I'm hoping my Icarus will tell me as I play him more....

The point to all of this, aside from more character development practice -
- is that it might help me better develop the Varekai Icarus and drive me to write that story.

So.... yeah... I have three main writing projects in the works, and more keep popping up. I STILL have to redo that darn fight scene between Trish and Devon!!!!

I'm going to be a busy little beaver the tail end of this year and the start of the next. That's not even including the fact that I still have to read 3 - possibly 4 or 5, depending on how I interpret the challenge - more books to finish off the "Reading Books Like a Boss" challenge.

I don't need to actually do things like socialize, play video games, or.... I dunno.... clean for the rest of the year, right?

I should probably get started on SOMETHING to chew away at everything I have on my To Do list. Until next week!

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