Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Prepping for Camp

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

Trish was thrilled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's actually my biggest hurdle.

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

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

Buuuuut, there's two issues with that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

It's... complicated....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tumblr Notes: 2 likes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tumblr Notes: 3 likes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fitting, considering

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fear of Commitment

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

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

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

In three more chapters.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tumblr Notes: 5 likes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tumblr Notes: 11 total; 9 likes and 2 reblogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Coming Full Circle

This was it! This was the week when I finally came full-circle with "Peeping Tomcat." Last July I decided to figure out what the big deal was with "Miraculous Ladybug," and fell in love with the goofy, cheesy cartoon. August I listened to "Why We Lose" on repeat while trying to figure out a writing prompt during the Writers' Huddle Summer Writing Challenge. I couldn't think of a story for the prompt I had, but listening to the song so much gave me this image of Cat Noir watching Marinette dance in her room. My first ever Miraculous fanfic idea.

I ran with it. It ended with an unexpected reveal, and I craved more. I added to it, polished it up a bit, and posted it on Fanfiction.net in September. I knew it had potential for so much more story, and decided that's exactly what was going to happen, so I named it Peeping Tomcat - Teaser.

Fun side note, out of the 4 people who reviewed the teaser, only one has come back to comment and/or fave the full story, and that one person only did so over on AO3. Also, out of the 19 people who faved the teaser, only 4 have faved the full story. I'm not sure if the others just don't like the full story as much, or if they simply haven't found it yet?

Anyway, fast forward to November, where NaNo had a superhero theme, and so I decided it was time to write the full "Peeping Tomcat" story. After a break in December, I got started on edits. It is June, and I'm still sort of editing as I go, but I'm getting close to finishing this story. Four more intended chapters left.

But the big one was chapter 11: Truth, posted this past Friday. The chapter that started it all. The first ever ML fanfic plot bunny that hopped into my head while listening to "Why We Lose" and trying to write another story entirely.

FanFiction         ArchiveOfOurOwn         DeviantArt

Since this past Friday's update was such a huge deal for me, I was antsy and couldn't wait for my 24hr stats check-in like I normally do. At 8:30pm I hopped onto each site to see how well "Truth" was doing.
FFN: 263 views, and a review from cassy1994, which I'll post below in the 24hr stats
AO3: 194 views, 6 kudos, and 1 new bookmark
DA: 10 views

Total Results: 467 views, 6 kudos, 1 bookmark, and 1 review

Tumblr Notes: 22 total - 18 likes, 2 reblogs, and 1 comment that I replied to 
I have to admit that I was surprised to only have the one review, and that no one new had faved my story on FFN. To be fair, though, for all I knew, a healthy portion of the 263 views consisted of the 150 people who had already favorited the story. They couldn't fave it a second time.

For me though, the real kicker was the number of notes I received over on Tumblr. For some comparison, here is the breakdown of the other four weeks I've promoted "Peeping Tomcat."
  • First time I promoted PT was after I published the 7th chapter. As of today, there are still only 16 notes on it. I never thought to track how many of those were from the first 24hrs. All 16 notes are people liking it. No reblogs.
  • The next week, for chapter 8, there are only 2 notes, even now; weeks later. One was a like from someone named theresatheseus, who had also liked the previous week's promotion. The other note was Cyhyr reblogging to help me promote it.
  • The promotional post for chapter 9 claims it has 3 notes on it, but as of right now the only one listed is theresatheseus liking yet another promotion of "Peeping Tomcat."
  • Last week's promotion of chapter 10 again only had theresatheseus liking it.
With past stats like that, I was used to being a little-known/no-name on Tumblr still. I was going to keep promoting to try to snag whatever views I could, but I wasn't expecting much. Not yet, anyway.

So I was dumbfounded and excited to see 22 notes within 12 hours of me posting on Tumblr. I know in the grand scheme of things this is still barely even peanuts, but it felt like my post was exploding. Especially when neither of the reblogs, nor the comment, nor any of the likes, were Cy or ChibiSunnie. All 22 notes were people who - as far as I know - don't personally know me.

For me, that's huge! And it got bigger during the remaining 12hrs before my 24hr check-in. I had jumped up to 46 total notes.
  • 3 reblogs
  • 1 conversation between me and a fan, making up 5 comments
Can I just focus for a minute on the 38 likes for the post? I mean, THIRTY-EIGHT LIKES! I didn't even realize I had that many fans on Tumblr. That means at least 38 people have either already read "Peeping Tomcat" and liked it enough to enjoy my promotion for it, or they liked the summary I shared on Tumblr enough to want to give the story a try.

Oh yeah, and you should focus on the "at LEAST" part of that statement! There were people like Cy and Chibi who hadn't liked/reblogged yet, and others who may have liked the post IRL, but never actually clicked on the little heart to "like" something on Tumblr.

Even if it IS peanuts, having at LEAST 38 people like my story is amazing to me. Especially when I came off weeks where only theresatheseus had shown me love. Also, fun side note: theresatheseus was the second person to have liked the most recent post.

Two of the 3 reblogs that occurred in the first 24hrs were by completely different people than who liked the story promo, which brings me up to 40 people who are presumably fans. Either that, or potential fans who had just discovered PT via my weekly promo.

As for the conversation between me and the fan? Their name is skyeribbon, and the conversation, which added 5 new notes to the post, went like this:
skyeribbon said: “WOOHOO”
Me: “Oh my goodness! I don’t think you understand how much a six-letter word made me want to cry. I’m so glad you were excited too. :D <3 Thank you."
skyeribbon: “Psh please this is LITERALLY my favorite marichat fanfiction, i was actually thinking of making fan art of it and if WOOHOO gets you excited im about to get you a full color spread child ur bae"
Me: “You are so sweet. <3 LOVE!!!"
I have absolutely no clue what changed between last week and this one. I don't know if I promoted better this go, or if I just stumbled into the perfect timing for my post to be seen by more people, or if I've become active enough in the fandom to be noticed and watched more.

Whatever it was, it got me stoked and amazed me so much that I felt the need to write up a Thank You post for all the love I felt.

How well did I do with my other 24hr stats?
FFN: 501 views, 3 followers, and 3 reviews
AO3: 284 views, 9 kudos, 1 bookmark, and 1 comment
DA: 20 views (13 of which are for the new chapter), 1 fave (of the new chapter)

Total Results: 805 views, 10 faves, 4 followers, and 4 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 46 total - 38 likes, 3 reblogs, 5 comments (me and Skye)

  1. He still has to tell her, but it got complicated now! Ooh exciting!
(Another cassy1994 review)
  2. Now Adrien is really gonna be a mess at school lmao!
  3. The would-be confession has become a Ladybug reveal! Good deal, and please keep posting.
  4. Love Adrien overthinking his feelings and wondering if he is just attracted to Ladybug. Although it is pretty obvious that he genuinely has feelings for Marinette, even without the Miraculous connection. It was just easier to fall for Ladybug because she was confident around him, and their battles helped them bond. Adrien's probably trying to find a way to sabotage or guilt himself for finding out. Especially since he knows Ladybug didn't want him to know. I also loved Plagg's reaction to seeing Tikki. Damn, Marinette is going to have to give him big hugs. That boy is good at guilting himself.
(This is a massively abridged version)
The one review I got over on AO3 went on for quite a few paragraphs. I tried to abridge even the abridged version of the review, but what I have above is about as compact as I could make it. If you're interested in the full review, feel free to check out my comments on AO3.

So, I almost doubled my FFN views, even with the second half of the day taking up mostly overnight hours. I also got a few new followers and a couple more comments. Over on AO3, I had about half as many people read during the overnight, but I did get a few more kudos and a comment. My DA readership literally doubled, and I got a fave on the latest chapter.

The love kept spreading. As of right now, my stats are as follows.
FFN: 923 views, 2 faves, 7 followers, and 4 reviews
AO3: 394 views, 14 kudos, 4 bookmarks, and 4 reviews
DA: 35 views, and 2 faves

Total Results: 1352 views, 18 faves, 11 followers, and 8 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 
51 total - 42 likes, 4 reblogs (1 was my TY post), 5 comments 

Abridged Versions of the Reviews:
  1. THIS IS AWESOME! Your grammar is very good. Your writing is riveting. Your story flows excellently. You've kept everyone very canon. Nice reveal, also Plagg's reaction was brilliant. Thank you for sharing.
  2. This story is fantastic! I echo the other commenter's thoughts on your skills as a writer. The reader can feel what the characters do, and the plot is thought-out. I'm not a fan of 1st person, but this is totally enjoyable. It had to be told in 1st person. I'm quite in awe of your writing ability!
  3. [paragraph expressing excitement over the chapter and the reveal.] I get the sense in this story that Plagg has feelings for Tikki. The way he reacted to her was interesting. Another awesome chapter. Reading this is always a pleasure because of how accurately you portray everyone. The plot is interesting. I'm curious to see how Chat Noir reacts, and how Marinette is going to find out. I'm so excited to see what happens next! Keep up the amazing work!
(Jowy's Pixie's latest review)
  4. A constructive criticism; my first one for the story. See below
Again, if you want to take the time to fully read the reviews, you can by going to the AO3 and FFN links. You can then click on "Comments" for AO3 or "Reviews" on FFN.

As for my first constructive criticism:
Fan_Craze44: Personally, I really like the story but I think the scene descriptions are a little too long, to the point that they detract from the plot or just make it a little tedious to read. Also, I understood where you were coming from with the Chloe clones as it fit with the akuma's agenda and you're not necessarily trying to stick to canon, but it just seems a little unrealiatic since all the characters retained their personalities in the Reflekta episode after being turned. I hope this doesn't make you think that I am a hater because I really DO enjoy this story. I happen to be in yrbk and we do a lot of constructive criticism.
The Chloe Clones critique is easy enough to explain: different akumas have different powers. While Reflecta's power was to simply change the physical looks of a person, Mimicker's powers were able to affect both physical and psychological. Kind of like how Pharaoh was able to make mummies, Dark Blade was able to make knights, and Simon Says was able to make people do whatever he wanted. I just had the citizens become Chloe instead of mindless knights or mummies. I can appreciate that this seems like a stretch for some, and it may be, but for my own reasoning, it does seem like a natural extension to powers we've already seen. It seems canonical enough. Even if it isn't; it's fanfiction.

For the scene descriptions: I did fear that would be the case. I purposely wrote out things like Chat Noir transforming with much more detail than any fan could need. I did this for two reasons.

In the past, I have enjoyed someone's writing so much that I attempted to read everything they wrote, even if I wasn't in the fandom. It was a bit difficult to read a fandom I wasn't a part of, because a lot of things went over my head, but I enjoyed the stories regardless. On the off chance I have similar readers from outside the ML fandom, I wanted to make sure I had enough description so that you didn't NEED to be a Miraculous Ladybug fan to enjoy my story.

The second reason is similar, and also because of past experience. I have read stories long after I stopped actively watching/reading/playing the source material, and I've had to pause what I was reading in order to look up references. I had been out of the fandom for so long I had forgotten what a character looked like, what episode/book/game something referred to, or how a particular character would act. It broke me out of the story. So, in case someone comes across my story after being out of the ML fandom for a while, I wanted enough description to remind them while keeping them inside the story.

I can understand why such long descriptions may seem unneeded and/or tedious to any actively in the fandom though. I also reassured Fan_Craze44 that I don't think a reviewer is a hater if they legitimately have a constructive criticism. They had explained what they didn't like, and why. That's not hate, that's just informing an author what needs improving upon.

But let's get back to the other reviews. They were all incredibly long and detailed this go. Generally I get a sentence or two showcasing appreciation for my writing and/or commenting about a particular element of the chapter. Having so many multi-paragraph reviews was fun to read through. Really perked me up at just the right times. I also really appreciated that this apparently was the week of "Let her know her grammar and characterization are on point."

I was shocked that almost all of the reviews this go had some sort of mention of my overall writing skill, instead of the typical "the characters act canonically, and the story is interesting." Did my overall writing improve since last week?????

Another big theme for this week is the demand that Adrien DOES NEED TO TELL MARINETTE that he's been spying. While I get it, it is incredibly intrusive and shouldn't be glamorized because it may mean more victimizing of women, at the same time.... um.... what about Marinette? If my readers demand so adamantly that Adrien needs to let Marinette know that he's been spying on her for A WEEK, then maybe Marinette should let Adrien know that she has basically been stalking him SINCE THEY MET. She has a copy of his complete schedule - not just his school schedule - and even memorized it. Her bedroom is practically wallpapered with pictures of Adrien, a fact that will bite her in the episode coming out this weekend. She swiped his phone for a day. She spied on a "date" between him and Lila before using her Ladybug persona to break it up. She used her Lucky Charm power to stop Adrien slow dancing with Chloe. True, he probably loved the excuse to stop dancing with Chloe, but still.... Marinette even recruited her friends to help her manipulate/manufacture a situation which would coerce Adrien to go on a date with her.

I mean, that is all mad creepy. Is it about par with a 14yr old girl's crush? Yeah. I was about Marinette-level when I was that young.... not quite THAT obsessed, but close. But even if it is kind of par for the course, it is still SUPER intrusive. Way more than Adrien sitting quietly outside to watch her while she's doing homework, dancing in her room, or playing a video game. He even tried to go out of his way to make sure he wouldn't be at her room when she'd be dressing, and he avoided the skylight so he wouldn't be tempted to watch her sleep.

Soooooo, classic double standard that seems to come up frequently in this fandom. It's okay if Mari does something, but not our little Sunshine Boy Cinnamon Roll, even if anything involving Chat Noir is considered "sin." On the flip side, if Mari's heart gets broken people seem to have less sympathy than they do if Adrien's heart is broken. There are a LOT of double standards in this fandom, but that's for a post on my Tumblr blog; not here.


I received a second one stating that they don't normally enjoy 1st person stories, but are enjoying mine. And they even think the story wouldn't work if it wasn't in 1st. Which is the exact reason I used that POV in the first place.

I don't know why there is so much hate for 1st person stories, but I appreciate that people seem to think I'm doing it "correctly." I just hope I didn't lose potential readers simply because they saw it was in 1st person and nope'd the heck out.

That fear is actually one of the reasons why I'm leaning towards "One and the Same" being in alternating 3rd person limited - switching back and forth between Marinette and Adrien. Cy is afraid that a switch from 1st person POV to 3rd within the same series would be too jarring. And now that she'd mentioned that, I guess I have to agree. I do know that I can't just stay in Adrien's POV though - which would be the most logical transition from one book to the next - because OatS is very much Marinette's story this time. On the flipside, I can't stay exclusively in Marinette's POV, because Adrien's attempt to figure out if Mari likes both halves of him may not play out well without his POV involved.

Cyhyr suggested alternating 1st person, which is how Rick Riordan wrote the Kane Chronicles. It is probably the best bet. I can have it be Mari's story with some of Adrien's insight, but I don't have such a jarring switch by going from 1st to 3rd. I'll have to see how well the alternating 1st works when I write the first draft next month.

DEAR LORD! NEXT MONTH! I really need to get back to working on that outline so I'm ready. Plus, I will still have a chapter or two to edit while starting off Camp. It will be a BUSY July, and I may have to make it my own personal "summer writing challenge" to finish the first draft by August end.

Speaking of editing chapters, this upcoming one needed an almost complete rework. I didn't delve nearly as deep into Adrien's psyche during my NaNo attempt at this story, so the post-reveal chapter was mostly "do I like Mari for Mari or do I like her because she's Ladybug." Now I have to add in the added complexity of "great, now if I confess to Marinette I'm also confessing to Ladybug; how is that going to go?" I also need to touch base on the "I don't deserve to be a superhero" angst. Jumbled among all of that, I need to address Plagg's relationship with Tikki now that he knows where Ladybug's kwami is.

I don't have any days off this week, due to a coworker being on vacation, so I should stop slacking off here. If I have time to write this long blog post, than I have time to work on the next chapter.

Catch you fans on Friday, and I'll see everyone here next Tuesday!

In the meantime, you can check out my latest Tumblr exclusive short.

Finally, a quick shout-out to Cyhyr for reblogging and promoting this story. I really do have awesome, supportive friends!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Feeling the Love

Being a new member of Tumblr means I pretty much can't scroll down my dash without getting a reminder that June is Pride Month!

So, if this applies to you, then you be proud of who you are! If you broke firmly out of the closet, be loud and don't back down. There is nothing wrong with you.

If you are still closeted, maybe use this month to find the support you need to bust out and show the world who you really are. You don't need the stress of hiding and always wondering if someone else will out you. Come out on your terms.

Finally, if you're closeted, and prefer to stay that way, know that you're not weak, nor are you fighting against progress for equal rights. If anything, not being "out, proud, and loud" is MORE equal than anyone else. If I don't have to go around posting everywhere and telling everyone "I'm a cis-female who likes males" then why do you have to go around quantifying yourself? So, just chill in that closet if it makes you feel better. You can still be proud in there.


And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

I was in a bit of a funk over the weekend, which meant I pretty much read the entire time, instead of writing. Thankfully, a couple of days of moping, reading, snuggling the hubby, and sleeping - coupled with some really awesome reviews on "Peeping Tomcat" - helped perk me up. Although, it did leave me a bit behind on my editing.

Not that it really matters. First of all, I have the chapter at about 90% where I want it to be anyway. Secondly, apparently I'm a lazy bum that waits until the last second regardless.

Yeah, the latest chapter of PT was very much like the akuma attack in the previous one: working on the prep-work all week, but didn't start actually WRITING until Thursday. I even purposely neglected writing Wednesday by spending the whole evening playing Mario Odyssey with Hubby. We hadn't played a video game in a while; we needed a date night.

Waiting until Thursday - partially because I lost track of what day of the week I was on - meant another chapter where I wrote until I fell asleep at my laptop, woke up to go to bed, and then got up at like 6am Friday morning to get the finishing touches done. At least this week I had Friday off, so I could crash again once the story was up.

The major snafu this time was that Hubby needed a ride into work, and I needed to get some maintenance done on my car. My mechanic is basically in the same shopping plaza as Hubby's work, so I figured I'd drop him off, then the car.

Thing is, Hubby needed to be at work by 8am, and I really needed that extra half-hour until my normal 8:30am updating time in order to finish last-minute edits. I figured I could take my laptop with me, drop Hubby off, go into the store to use their wifi to finish updates and publish, and then drop the car off.

Which would have worked perfectly, and mostly did, if it weren't for the fact that the wifi randomly had Archive Of Our Own blocked. I could get onto FanFiction and DeviantArt easily enough to update the story there, but AO3 was just straight up blocked for some strange reason.

So I updated on FFN and DA before dropping off the car. I'd have to update on AO3 once I got home.

Thing is, the mechanic has a bit of a pathetic waiting area, no free wifi to connect to, and tends to get overwhelmed with the number of cars he has to get through, so he never knows how long anything is going to take.

In truth? He never touched my car on Friday. I had to grab it to do Friday evening runs - including going to a D&D session - and then drop it back off so he would have it first thing Saturday morning. Thankfully, Hubby was off Saturday, and I can walk to work.

The other issue was in regards to where the mechanic is in relation to my house. While Omnibladestrike agreed to follow us to the mechanic from our D&D session, so he could then bring us home after we dropped the car off, I didn't have anyone during the day who could follow me around.

So, after dropping the car off in the morning, I walked the mile home. Meaning it was a little after 9am before I had internet access again and could post the latest chapter of PT on AO3. And then I had to walk a mile back Friday evening to pick up my car for my evening errand runs.

I then had to walk back to the mechanic one last time on Saturday, while firmly in my funk, in order to pick the car up after work. FUN!

At least I got some exercise in, right? Gave me time to ponder the rest of the story and what I need to do to finish it up before getting to work on the sequel. Something I'll talk about more in a minute, but first, how about I share the latest chapter of "Peeping Tomcat" with you guys?

FanFiction         ArchiveOfOurOwn         DeviantArt

My original draft of the story had the latest chapter as the closing portion of the akuma attack chapter. However, Terravenger was running a bit long, and where I stopped just seemed fitting.

I was wondering if I should then inflate this 10th chapter to the normal 3000-word minimum the rest of my story has had thus far, but it didn't feel right. I didn't want to add fluff just for the sake of word counts. I mean, I re-hit my NaNo goal as it is. This chapter didn't even have 2000 words, and I am now up to 50,696 words overall. With five more chapters to go until I'm done. At LEAST five more; I might have to expand again depending on how the edits go.

So, to not add words just for the sake of adding words, I left this "baby" chapter. I had hoped those who had waited a week for an update and were used to a good 20-minute read would be alright with the short update and another week-long wait.

Based on the 24-hr stats, I did pretty decently with the "baby" chapter.
FFN: 617 views, 1 follower, and 3 reviews
AO3: 203 views, 7 kudos, 2 bookmarks, and 1 new review
DA: 18 views

Total Results: 838 views, 7 faves, 3 followers, and 4 reviews

Tumblr Notes: 1 like....

  1. "Non-existent crush my left foot."
  2. "Aw he gave her a hug... but poor Adrian! Also if he only knew how much Marinette actually watched him..."
(another Cassy1994 comment)
  3. "I love this fic so much right now! I tore thru all 10 chapters in about a day. ❤️❤️❤️ Can’t wait to see what happens next!"
See below for Jowy's review
Before getting to Jowy's review, I'd like to note that the one above with the hearts in it was on AO3, where I posted late, and that comment was posted at about 4:30 that same day. So "in about a day" was actually a span of 7-some hours, give or take, depending on when they found my story and/or if "about" a day meant they found it before the 1st and only just finished it at 4:30 on Friday.

Anyway, Jowy's review was as lovely as ever:
Jowy's Pixie: Awwww, poor Adrien. I just wanted to leap into the story and give him a huge hug. His mind is playing tricks on him, it wasn't his fault that he didn't make it to the akuma as things started heating up, but I can imagine as a superhero, he would feel responsible for not 'being there on time' and all that jazz. It must be extremely difficult for him. I can understand why he might feel inadequate compared to Ladybug and feel like he isn't needed and just gets in way, but it's still completely untrue. I just hope that he realises his worth soon.
          It was a really touching moment when Ladybug dashed over to comfort him. They were so in character for that entire scene and it was amazing to read. Also, it was quite funny to read Chat Noir noticing the similarities between Ladybug and Marinette, especially with the freckles. I was screaming at him, "come on, Chat, you're smart, work it out!" I just hope Ladybug can help snap Chat Noir out of this feeling of inadequacy if he can't snap out of it by himself.
          This chapter was awesome to read and I enjoyed every word. I can't believe there's only five chapters left now; that makes me sad. But still, I look forward to seeing how this story is going to end. I'm so excited for your next update! Keep up the great work!
Jowy's really knows how to motivate a gal. The encouragement didn't end there. On Sunday I received two more reviews, but let's see how the week looks thus far.
FFN: 1068 views, 2 faves, 6 followers, and 5 reviews
AO3: 279 views, 11 kudos, 3 bookmarks, and 2 reviews
DA: 21 views and one new fave

Total Results: 1368 views, 14 faves, 9 followers, and 7 reviews

Tumblr Notes: Still only that 1 like...

FFN reviews:
  1. "uffff I feel so anguished while reading this, great fic, really good"
  2. "Ohhhh so much pain!"

  - See below for the longer AO3 review
I have to say that the AO3 review was another one of those gushy comments that makes my heart swell up!
FlamboyantTurtledove: Okay wow...just wow...
          No but seriously I can't stress how much I love it so far! Everything is just as it is on the show!! I love getting to listen in on Adrien’s inner thoughts. It’s rare that we get to see things from his perspective but you captured his personality perfectly! Alya once again playing match maker with Nino supporting her and her antics was executed flawlessly and omg Marinette’s rambling ugh I love her rambling in this so much it’s like I’m watching the actual show! Lastly I loved the Akuma scene it was so well done! their banter was absolutely spot on (no pun intended). I can’t wait to see where this goes! Have a great day!
They commented on the 6th chapter, so I'm not sure if they finished reading all 10, but still... EEEEEEEEEEE
Maki Natsuo from Love Lab
by Ruri Miyahara
Because I'm not already fired up enough to FINALLY get to the chapter that started it all. Yup! That's right. That "writing practice" I did during last year's Writers' Huddle summer writing challenge? The one that became the teaser chapter that I put up last fall? Yeah. FINALLY getting to posting that chapter this Friday!

I have some tweaking to do still now that I've thrown way more existential crisis and inner turmoil at Adrien. Namely, I realized that I solved the "do I chose Marinette or stick with Ladybug" crisis in my current draft, but I didn't touch:
 - Adrien's sense of inadequacy as Chat Noir
 - Adrien hiding from Marinette that he's been spying on her
 - Adrien's offer to show Marinette's portfolio to his father

Soooo I should probably work on tying those lose ends up too.... Not all in the next chapter, obviously, but I need to set it up for the following chapters. It will be tricky to work them in somehow, but all of my chapters from here on out are struggling to hit my average 3000 word count anyway, so I have room to grow.

Then again, I've been getting probably the most love on this "baby" chapter, so maybe I DO write too-long chapters.

Do readers like quick 2000-words-or-fewer chapters that they can breeze through? Do they prefer nice, larger 4000-word chapters after waiting a week, so it feels "worth" the wait? Does the word count not matter and everyone is just in love with the low-point anguish?

It really doesn't matter what the answers are, because I'm going to write how the story needs me to write, but it would be interesting to know.

Also, fun side note, my average weekly review count is about four or five, with two of them being my repeat readers cassy1994 and Jowy's Pixie. The only time I surpassed five reviews for the week was when I had nine that first week. I'm already up to seven reviews for the week. We'll see how much more love I get between now and the next chapter going up on Friday.

OH! Speaking of love. The fanfic that Omni's been working on to help him rework his writing muscles is up. We finished the edits on Sunday, so if you see any typos you can blame me as his beta-reader....

It's within the Touhou Project fandom, but I was intrigued even without knowing much about the games. Go give the man some love.

Now, I don't know if he's going to read that at group tonight, but I know for certain that I have no clue what I'm going to read. My chapters are super long, and so I take up so much time if I read off my chapters. Besides, the chapters I'd read to keep the group up-to-date have all been published already, so their comments would be a bit moot. I have already read the upcoming chapter to them before posting it back in September, so even though I've edited it, have I done so enough to bother re-reading? Especially since it was apparently so impactful the first time that one of the members gets confused that everything else I've read since then have been precursors to that chapter. She just keeps focusing on what I read in September.

So... win?

Also, no one seems all that invested in hearing fanfiction if they aren't in the fandom. As evidenced by one of our newest members reading off his Star Trek fanfiction. He got pretty much the same reaction as me: "um... yup.... that was good..."

I tried branching out a bit by reading off "Stranger in a White Dress" last time, but everyone picked up pretty quickly that it was a Miraculous Ladybug fanfic even though a) I didn't tell them it was, and b) neither Ladybug nor Cat Noir showed up anywhere in the story. In fact, the story takes place years before either are born.

So, do I just say "screw it" and read off the two other shorts I wrote for Tumblr? Or maybe the one writing practice I did during a writing date with Omni about a month ago?

Oh, and speaking of my other Tumblr exclusive shorts, pretty much since I've published it, "Kisses" has been my number one liked/commented on/reblogged post.

That is, until a couple of days ago.

Disney Channel created an original movie a few months back called "Z-O-M-B-I-E-S." It's a cute movie where, through technology I won't get into here, zombies are capable of living like normal humans, and so they are doing a trial integration run: the neighborhood zombie teens going to the human high school. Zed the zombie football player and Addison the human cheerleader have a sort of star-crossed love while zombies struggle to become accepted. Mixed within all this chaos is the football coach, who is probably my favorite character in the whole movie.

The lines this guy has are all gold, and the actor's delivery is beautiful. The whole thing just reeks with Millennial Life Struggles, and it is beautiful. Here's just a taste in probably the best scene this man has:
I loved this guy's lines so much I pretty much transcribed all of them into a Tumblr post. It has taken on a life of its own since then. The DCOM fanbase is rabid and spreads anything within the fandom just about as quickly as a zombie outbreak. So not only are people liking and sharing my post off my Tumblr, but they are reblogging off of someone else's reblog of someone else's reblog of my post. It's up to 48 notes - a combination of likes, reblogs, and comments - since I posted on May 26th. Comparatively, I posted "Kisses" on May 17th, and it also has 48 notes.

I guess I have to up my game and come out with a new exclusive short to dethrown my ZOMBIES post. I'll add it to the list of Writing To-Dos.

Speaking of... I signed up for July's Camp NaNoWriMo. I'm going to use it to really lock down the sequel to "Peeping Tomcat" so it could be ready for release by end of August/beginning of September.

In truth, I really wanted to have a seamless flow from PT to OatS. Posting the conclusion of "Peeping Tomcat" on July 6th, and then the first chapter of "One and the Same" on July 13th. Huh, another Friday the 13th....


I haven't even started writing the sequel though. Getting PT ready to publish has taken more time and effort than I originally thought. Besides, having six months anticipation since I posted the teaser for PT seemed to have really gotten hype up, so maybe having to wait a couple of months for the sequel will do the story good. Build up anticipation.

Point being, I'm going to try to use Camp NaNo to really get myself teed up for that sequel. July is probably more chaotic than November though. Between Independence Day, summer get-togethers, my birthday, and my nephew's birthday, I'm going to be on socializing overload in July. Especially since a cousin who lives on the other side of the country, and I've literally only seen about 3x my whole life, is coming out to visit his East Coast family. So my week vacation will pretty much consist of me driving to Pennsylvania, spending time with the cuz and his fam, celebrating my birthday with my mom and sister, whom I haven't seen in person since January, visiting my PA bestie and my godson, both of whom I haven't seen in close to a year, driving home, visiting our nephew for his birthday, and doing any socializing my friends here at home want to do for my birthday. Not to mention that two of my friends have their wedding anniversary at the end of the month, and another two of my friends have their daughter's birthday, although I don't know how involved in those celebrations I'll be....

There will be chaos, but I'm going to try to use Camp as a reason to hide in the corner and write at least for an hour or two each day.
Ending lines of the editing project Bright Wolf.
A lot of production students have to go through
editing this trash. XD
Well, speaking of writing chaos, I need to get to work on finishing up this week's chapter, as well as figure out what to read at group tonight. We were also asked to bring in our favorite writing quote, and I think I'm going with this one: