Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Going Non-Linear

Sorry for the delay on this week's post. My one co-worker had a family emergency and I had to work instead of write and post this. It probably didn't help that I've been a bit distracted lately. I don't think I'm sleeping well.

For instance, I didn't realize that Jowy's Pixie had updated her blog with three new posts since I last checked - which was about two weeks ago! What makes this miss even more embarrassing is that one of those posts was a review and promotion for "Peeping Tomcat"! Quite the rave review no less!

I was basically tearing up by the time I was done with the read. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that people find MY work so fantastic. I'm so used to being blown away by other authors. It's weird when I'm the one who's blowing people away.

Anyway, if you would like to see what Pixie thought of PT, you can check out her full review here:
Fanfiction Review: Peeping Tomcat

And while you're there, don't forget to check out her other blog posts. She has an episode review for the Miraculous episode Anansi, and I'm sure the latest episode Sandboy will get a review soon. If you would prefer to avoid spoilers, she also has insight on the inspiration of her own ongoing works. Seriously. Check this girl out!

And since I'm taking this time to promote other people anyway, I have a grand announcement for "Leather and Lies" as well.
Sorry, I know that red font can be hard to read. Here's the text:
"A criminal profiler searching for her cousin. A biker concealing a deadly secret.
One wild ride full of passion, deceit, and danger.
Coming October 3rd."
We finally have links for paperback pre-orders! YAY! So if you like to kick it old school like me, you can still get in your pre-orders before the novel comes out IN NINE DAYS!!!!

You can snag your paperback pre-order on Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

If you prefer the ebook version, the above links work for that as well. You can also pre-order the e-book version on Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo, and Google Play.

I pre-ordered my copy. Have you snagged your own yet?

Oh, and if you're over on Amazon anyway, you should probably go ahead and follow her author page. I mean, why not? I did.
You can get to her page by either clicking on her name on the "Leather and Lies" page,
or you can just click this link.

Or, if you prefer, you can also follow her on Twitter...
Her handle is @AuthorCStraub, in case you can't see it.

Alternatively, you can also follow her on Instagram, BookBub, or GoodReads. I mean, a little more than a week before her book goes live. Now's the time to jump in and check out her work.

Alright. Enough promos for everyone else. What have I been up to this week, aside from slacking off.

Well.... I'm still chugging away at my non-linear writing.

Last week I talked about the few scenes I wrote already for "One and the Same". Well, based on initial guesses on size of the story, let's say that the "asking for Marinette's phone number" is probably about the sixth or eighth chapter. Then the All-Is-Lost full confession from Chat Noir is probably towards the end of the story; about chapter 16 or something. Then I jumped back to the second chapter or so as Adrien recapped the plot of "Peeping Tomcat." I then jumped ahead again to about chapter eight or ten - somewhere about mid-story maybe - for the scene where Chat Noir realizes Marinette is in love with Adrien.

Well.... now I'm at about chapter four as I tried to figure out how the MariChat friendship could have started. I was so nervous about this scene. It seemed so daunting and Herculean. How could I organically get Chat Noir talking to Marinette outside of her Ladybug costume while keeping his promise to no longer spy on her?

Surprisingly, the pseudo-chapter was fairly easy to write. We'll see how much survives the editing stage, but right now the important thing is that it is on paper, so to speak. I have something to work with. Actually, I have 4400 words and 8 pages worth of "something to work with".... so... yeah.... there's that. I already know that major portions of my "Chat Noir Finds Out About Marinette's Crush" scene needs to now be reworked since I used that info in this earlier chapter instead. That's what the revision process is for though, right?

My focus right now is to get this fanfic rough draft written. I'll fix things after the fact.

To use a phrase that became a meme joke in my former production job: "Fix it in post!"

At least I'm still going. I'm still not really sure how to start with the akuma supervillain attack, and I don't know how to finish, or most of the middle. On paper, it seems like I don't have much of anything figured out. Yet, I keep thinking of neat scenes I'd like to have in this story, and I just follow that train of thought.

I usually write start to finish; figure out where I was in the story so I can better understand where I'm going. Life is linear, and every past experience and decision affects the current experience and decisions. How can I properly write later scenes without knowing the earlier ones? How do I figure out the emotional affects?

Then, last year, I was challenged by Mouse to write a story in reverse, which was exactly what I needed for my Trish and Devon fight scene one-shot. I knew how the story needed to end, but I wasn't sure how to get there. Knowing where everyone needs to emotionally and physically be by the end of the story, I worked backwards. How did they get to that state? Then how did they get to THAT state? And I just kept diminishing emotional levels, or just shifting them. I took away wounds and fatigue to see how they got that beaten up in the first place. I then figured out how I needed to start; to set up the events of the story in the first place. I kept going from one end to the other: rewind more from the ending, or write linearly from the start. I met up in the middle, more-or-less, and then polished things up as I connected the two halves. It worked.

I'm now doing a similar thing with "One and the Same." Just.... in a more extreme sense. I'm jumping all over the place, but this method is actually working for me this go. So I'm running with it. I'll use NaNo to write the bridging scenes, and/or organize the scenes into an actual plotline.

In the meantime, we got another new "Miraculous Ladybug" episode on Monday, and another one should be coming up next Monday. October is actually supposed to be a very full month with supposedly a new episode every Monday. Seems fitting. The first episode of the season came out late October. Zagtoon is probably trying to rush through to the end - something like five or six more episodes to go - so the second season doesn't last TOO much longer than a year.

A year per season wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't only 25 or 26 episodes long...or if we didn't have to go full months without a new episode.... or if the episodes were actually released in production order so that any semblance of a story arc and/or timeline could be preserved.... or if we got a new episode after it's teased, instead of what we have now which is about three promos for three new episodes, but none of them are going to air for another month. So we're sitting on potential spoilers via trailers for WEEKS before we figure out what it all means. The fandom is freaking out about that quite a bit. That, and the fact that the last episode in a three-part series is supposedly airing before the other two are even done being animated....

This show's production is a bit of a mess right now....

Anyway, my point is that the new influx of the last few episodes, and then the release of the full season on Netflix perhaps by the end of the year will be great insight, reference, and inspiration for this story.

It also really helps that I got such a great review from my writing group for my "Adrien Recaps PT" pseudo-chapter. One member suggested that I try to tie in the headcanon I created with "Build Your Own Luck" somewhere in the story so The Bracelet has even more meaning within OatS. I'm pretty sure that was the only suggestion I got. The only critique was the overuse of the word "my" in the first paragraph. That member is quite the stickler for unneeded repetition, so she's developed quite the radar for that sort of thing. I tend to hate repetitiveness and redundancy as well, so I'm grateful she was able to find something I didn't.

Other than that though? One member just said "yeah, I liked it".... so I'm not sure if she just felt out of her element with fanfiction critiques, or if she legit had nothing really to say that everyone else didn't already mention. The member who suggested the tie in with BYOL admitted that fanfiction, and superhero teens drama, aren't his cup of tea, but he enjoyed my story. I drew him in and gave him plenty of images make sure he understood what was going on. The last member - who was the second to comment, actually - also gave me a rave review.

This really excited me since the group didn't seem all that excited about me reading the Peeping Tomcat chapters at the beginning of the year. So either I improved in my writing, their views/feelings on fanfiction changed, or I've talked about this fandom and series of stories for long enough that I wore them down. Either way, I'm glad they're enjoying it now. I even got asked to bring in more of Adrien as Chat Noir samples next time. Yay!

Oh! And speaking of wearing them down? Well DFL sent me an email about a week ago. She discovered that a theater within a decent driving distance from our homes is going to have a performance of the "Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir LIVE!" musical.

I- I didn't even know this was a thing!
DFL said she'd join me to go see this because I've intrigued her about the show, and she doesn't have a TV anymore, so no Netflix for her. Cyhyr and Shadow both seem pretty serious about wanting to go as well. So we'll just be a group of four adults with no children in tow watching a musical about a relatively new cartoon aimed at 10yr olds. It's cool. I'm sure we won't ping a single parent's Stranger Danger radar.....

Love what you love, kids. Don't worry about what others think, as long as you aren't hurting anyone.

Okay, well I'm late enough with this blog as it is, so I'll catch up with you again next week. With any luck I'll FINALLY be back on my normal schedule.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Writing Them Scenes!

This week was a lot better than previous ones! I'm still completely slacking off with my reading, having gone nearly a full month now without reading anything.

Then again, I read Jowy's Pixie's 50,000+ fanfic a couple of weeks back, so maybe I'm not slacking as much as I claim.

Anyway, this past week finally saw me writing a significant amount of prose again. Yay! Well, sort of yay... Considering I'm writing "One and the Same" during NaNo this year. So I either have to re-write everything I've done this past week, or "cheat" during NaNo by utilizing it. I could do my age-old "surpass 50,000 words by the amount I've brought into NaNo" to make myself feel like I didn't cheat....

It's only an extra 8500 words... I can totally handle that... right?

I mean, OatS is probably going to be another 80,000+ story anyway. I should be fiiiiiiine.

So, let's talk about those 8500 words I'd be bringing with me into NaNo.

It all started when I was working on the chapter Announcement for "Peeping Tomcat." I had Adrien asking Alya for Marinette's phone number, but it just didn't work for the story I was currently telling. I realized it would be an adorable add to OatS, so I tucked it to the side and reworked that scene for PT.

The scene still has Adrien talking about the soup his friends gifted him, so I need to rewrite and rework a large portion of it, but as it stands, I'm bringing in 1126 words from that scene.

Then, only a few days after posting the last chapter of PT, I was haunted by the ending of OatS. Not the true ending, but the All Is Lost moment. The scene where Marinette finds out that Chat Noir was spying on her in "Peeping Tomcat" and he knows she's Ladybug. She did NOT handle it well. The scene is only dialogue right now, but it is still 1369 words! Wait until I get description and inner reflection into that baby!

Last week I gave up on outlining techniques and just let Adrien recap PT for me in order to figure out where he was in his headspace. That scene is 2380 words long, but it's kind of wandering and needs to be tightened up.

Then there was what I wrote this past weekend.

I wasn't sure how Adrien was going to FINALLY figure out Marinette is boarderline obsessed with him, but I knew I was leaning towards the pictures in her room. Especially since I have the episode "Troublemaker" as a great reference on how he would react to such a discovery.

So... in short... I wrote the Crush Reveal from "Troublemaker" from the point of view of a Marinette and Chat Noir friendship taking an awkward turn one night when he visits her. It went kind of deep into their relationship, views of each other, and own self-esteem issues.

It ended up as 3666 words meandering through "Holy crow, she has a crush on me" to "No, I'm just studying the pictures because I like fashion" to "I'm nervous I'm not good at fashion, and I'm meeting my idol soon, and I'm afraid what he's going to tell me" to "You're amazing, Marinette, and these are just a few reasons why" bouncing back to "Ladybug is amazing, and this is why I love her; it's not just flirting" to "Why haven't you told Adrien you like him" to "I've tried, but I can't talk to him and when I tried writing a letter I forgot to sign it" to "Holy crow! Marinette wrote the unsigned valentine!?" to "Wait, so Marinette has had a crush on me since day one!? Me!?" and finally to "why not try telling him one last time you love him. I could help. *wink*"

It's all over the place, but I think I unpackaged quite a bit. I just need to find a way to spread it out throughout the story so it doesn't get completely dumped in this one 7-page scene.

It does help when I come across posts on Tumblr requesting for Adrien to freak out more when he figures out Marinette is Ladybug, and reasons why he should freak.

I mean, I had him freak, but not quite to the extreme as these requests. It makes me pause, and has me think that maybe poor Adrien needs to go through another freak out.

You can check out the great reasoning behind Adrien having an even bigger freak out than I gave him here. The long and short? Marinette is actually WAY more awesome and intimidating than Ladybug, and Adrien feels SHE is out of HIS league. The concept is amazing, and I'm a bit envious that I didn't think of it.

Point is, his initial "Oh, I'm so screwed now that I know my crush is on Marinette" freak out is done and over with. However, in the scene I wrote this weekend I did try to invert the freak out the Tumblr poster came up with. Instead of "Shoot, I like MARINETTE of all people!? How do I have a chance?" I gave Adrien a mini existential crisis when he finds out that she likes him back: "Like... WHY!? What's so special about ME that someone as amazing as Marinette would like me?" The kid's fatal flaw is his lack of self-esteem and lack of self-worth. Another Tumblr post actually went into great depth about how any and all of Adrien's and/or Chat Noir's bad behaviors can be traced back to his inability to come up with his own self-worth; he registers his value based on what others think of him. Anyway, I'm getting a bit off topic here....

I might go back and write a fanfic of my fanfic where I rewrite the chapter Crisis to better include the freak-out points from that original Tumblr post. Simply because they're beautiful and, as I said, I'm a bit mad at myself that I didn't think of them!

In the meantime, I think all of these scenes I've written has helped me figure out where I want to really go with "One and the Same." Ironically, writing out the scenes is helping me outline the story better.... I had a feeling it was going to work like that, which is why I started writing scenes in the first place. Get the major plot points I know I need to have in the story out of the way, then use the outline to figure out how they all fit together in the overall story.

Next up will be the birth of the MariChat friendship: Chat Noir finding Marinette at the Trocadero as she freaks out about her designs and future meet-up with Gabriel Agreste, which also ties in the conclusion of PT where Adrien is bringing some of her drawings to his dad.

I need to get a feel for how Chat Noir is going to organically work his way into Marinette's life while still keeping his promise to not spy on her anymore. This scene will be the tricky one. This one, and the actual conclusion when Marinette finds out Chat Noir is Adrien. Tricky, tricky scenes.
Knives from the Scott Pilgrim comic books
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Alternatively, yesterday morning I had a bizarre dream. I can't really recall much of it anymore, but it lingers right on the edge of my consciousness. Something about a wizard king and his consort, and the king needing to marry for alliance reasons, which makes his consort justifiably peeved, but she's not his wife anyway, and no one says they can't still be together after the Marriage of Convenience, so... fair game? Also, the male lead in my dream - not the king or his consort - grew up in the world of magic, so he knows how it works, but he can't wield magic for whatever reason. A theme that's been coming up in a lot of books I've been reading and/or shows I've been watching. Anyway, the king's consort is actually from a parallel world - our world - but she CAN wield magic, so the male lead has been training her.

It's a bit jumbled, but I do vaguely remember that much, so maybe there's something there for an original idea? Something that I might be able to tie into my Gyateara stories? So I might bounce around with that idea now and again as a bit of a palate cleanser whenever I'm stuck with OatS progress.

I should probably also get back into reading something other than Tumblr in order to get more ideas. On top of that, I do have those brainstorming sessions with Rozsavaria, so maybe something will pop there too. She seems to be making ground with her story, so that's cool. Having a bunch of friends and family ask her questions and try to poke holes in her world build seems to really help her figure out how to plug those holes, and the story keeps growing because of that. I'm excited she's making progress. Now I just need to do the same with my story.

Half way through September, let's get this NaNo-prep started!

Of course, I can't post today without wishing a happy b'day to my Wonder Twin! So here's hoping Ronoxym is enjoying his day, but knowing him he'll be a busy bee today zipping around doing errands or going to classes before heading off to work. Regardless, Happy Birthday, Bro!

But, as much as I love Ron, there's an even bigger b'day today! Can we all give a shout out to ChibiSunnie celebrating her big 3-0!? Huge happy birthday to you, hun! I hope you can find some rest and relaxation today, you deserve it. Sending all the love.
Have a super-duper awesome birthday, Chibi!
You've earned it. <3
These two are totally the same coin - must be the birth date - because they don't seem to know how to slow down between work, home obligations, and school. So I wish both of them at least a little bit of time today to just rest and enjoy their day. Love you both loads!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Crazy New Schedule

Sorry for the delay on this post. Normally I have Tuesdays off, so I can write my blog and post by noon. However, my one co-worker is on a mini Staycation, and so I had to work yesterday.

Actually... I had to work for seven days now, and I have two more to go before my next day off. On top of the non-stop work week, the football season is upon us. Hubby and I now have a standing date with Quarthix and his wife. We go to their house for the Thursday and Monday night games. They come to our place all day for the Sunday games. Which means two nights after work I'm jetting over to their place to watch the games, and the normal Sunday Get-together with Omnibladestrike will now be Football Day with Quarthix and his wife. Omni can also come over as well, of course, but he's not the hugest football fan, so I think we'll have to shift our meet-ups.

Also, sidebar... I've never given Quarthix's wife a name here, have I? All she's ever been is "Quarthix's fiance" and "Quarthix's wife"... she's a good friend of mine. She needs a name. Hmmm, pandas are one of her favorite animals, so she'll be Panda. Besides, Panda is one of my favorite "We Bare Bears," so that works too.

Back on track here, I also agreed that Rozsavaria and I need to hang out more. So the past two Fridays I've gone to her place. We've either watched "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" and crafted, or we talked about writing. So I guess that's going to be our new thing now. When Hubby and I aren't playing in Panda's D&D campaign one Friday a month, I'll hang with Roz while Hubby is at Friday Night Magic.

But wait, because we're not through yet!

I am horrendously out of shape and have wanted to get back into exercising for a while now. I greatly miss my Monday Night Aerial Yoga and Wednesday Night Kickboxing classes. However, the yoga shifted dates and instructors and... I just can't do it anymore. As for kickboxing, that is the one I REALLY miss. But my wrists and ankles are trash. Even wrapping them doesn't keep them sturdy enough, and I end up sore or even in pain for days after each weekly workout. So I have to get more weight off me first I think.

That's when I saw that Zumba came to town. I guess there's been a class here for a year or so now, but they just moved into the building across the street from my job, so it's the first time I've known about it. Last Wednesday I gave it a try right after work.

I promptly died.

But I enjoyed the class, so I gave it another try Monday night. I didn't die nearly as much, so I'm all set to go once more tonight.

So, let's recap:
  • Mondays right after work I have Zumba. I then have just enough time to shower before going to Quarthix and Panda's house for football.
  • Wednesdays right after work I have Zumba.
  • Thursdays after work I have time to eat dinner and jet over to Q&P's for football.
  • Fridays I'm either at Q&P's for our monthly D&D session, or I'm hanging with Roz.
  • Saturdays seems to now be the day that Shadow comes to visit, and we might be shifting Omni's weekly visit to that day too.
  • Sundays Q&P - and possibly Omni - comes over to watch football.
AAAAAAAND every other Tuesday I have writing group. Last night being one of the "on" weeks, so I got to jet over to Group after work!

I'm exhausted just writing all of that. While football season is going on I'll never have time to myself!

I mean, I like all the socializing, but.... geez.

Plus, work is picking up again, so I probably won't have much time to write at work anymore. This might result in my overall writing slowing down a bit.

The end result tends to make autumn bittersweet for me: I get a BUNCH of socializing in, especially with people I haven't interacted with for months, but I barely have quiet time to just sit and write or play video games or whatever.

The fact that the start of this crazy new jam-packed schedule for me coincides with the week I don't have a day off just makes things even more exhausting.

So, yeah, sorry I didn't have this blog done on time. I tried really hard though. I wrote a little Monday night to get a head start. I wrote some more over my lunch break at work yesterday, but the day itself was pretty slamming, so I couldn't get much done. After Group I had Shadow come over so we could watch the latest "Miraculous Ladybug" episode - the first new one since my birthday in July. Once he left I finished writing this blog post, but it was after midnight by the time I was done.

It was not a good week to try to get this blog post up. So, sorry again, but thanks for your patience with me.

Ironically enough though, I DID manage to write something this past week. During the "it's still slow" portion of my long work-week I tried to catch up on my outline of "One and the Same." I used a few more tactics to try to get through my current writer's block. I mind-mapped. I created a calendar so I could jot down the timeline of "Peeping Tomcat" and more-or-less the timeline I wanted for OatS, that way I could see how long the whole series would take place. I jotted down a flow-chart of Adrien's reaction for the post-akuma fight at the beginning of the book.

See, OatS is going to start with an akuma attack. The point is to showcase how the world works: this is Ladybug, this is Chat Noir, this is an akuma, these are the supervillain attacks Paris has to deal with on an almost daily basis, this is how the superpowers work, this is who Hawk Moth is, and this is how the dynamics are between everyone. It's also supposed to set up why Ladybug believes its so dangerous for her and Chat Noir to know who each other is.

Adrien reflects on that last part when he's alone in his room. I needed to figure out how he goes from "Shoot! She's right! I almost put us both in grave danger because I know who Ladybug is!" to "Meh, it's fine. I'll woo her as Chat Noir and once she's in love with both my superhero persona and my civilian persona I'll show her I'm the same guy."

It seemed like quite the leap and I had no clue how I was going to do it. I also knew it had to be more-or-less done within just one chapter. Otherwise the rest of the plot wasn't going to happen.

After trying out about five different brainstorming tactics I just went "Meh. Just write it." The characters tend to talk to me when I just write prose, which is why I was a Pantser for so long. It's also why Peeping Tomcat became so long. I knew where I wanted to go with the story, but as I wrote each chapter Adrien's thought process and actions took me in directions I didn't realize before.

Even if he meandered around and I had to edit it down for the final story, perhaps letting Adrien just talk to me will help both of us sort out his thoughts better.

That worked for a little while. I got about two or three pages in. Then I had Plagg point out the bracelet Marinette gave Adrien. It was his way of hinting that it shouldn't be a problem for Adrien to get Marinette to fall for him.

As Plagg said in the episode Frightningale: "People are blind!" However, that doesn't mean Plagg is. I'm sure he managed to pick up that Marinette is head over heels for Adrien, even if the kid didn't figure it out himself.

Anyway, it was here that things went sideways.

I don't know why, but I began really thinking about The Bracelet. I couldn't write more of my practice chapter because I became so focused by this thought. Mostly, I wondered where the bracelet came from. Marinette just happened to have it in her pocket when she was playing the video game with Adrien in the episode Gamer. It definitely didn't look like something she'd make. So, as sweet as it was that Adrien made her a bracelet for her birthday, I really don't think Marinette made the one he has. Let alone made it for him.

So where DID the bracelet come from? Well, I came up with a whole fantheory about it, and honestly, until the show gives us a canonical origin, the fantheory became my headcanon. I then really REALLY wanted to see a fancomic utilizing my new headcanon. Well, I don't have the money to pay EdenDaphne for a full fancomic, and I had already given her the specifics for my commission anyway. The only other way - aside from me drawing it myself, and lord help me if I tried - for this headcanon to be drawn is if artists saw my theory and liked it enough to attempt to draw it.

How could artists know of my headcanon though? Well, it's a good thing I have a place like Tumblr where I could share my thoughts on the matter and other members of the fandom could see it! Which is exactly what I did. You can check out my full fantheory/headcanon about The Bracelet here.

As I was writing out the whole thing though, I realized that I had more than a simple fantheory and headcanon. I had an Athena-like plot bunny: popping out of my head fully formed and ready for the world.

So I set to work on writing the glorious ball of fluff that is a slice-of-life family bonding story. If you need some warm fuzzies in your life, enjoy my latest short.

"Build Your Own Luck"
On FanFiction            On ArchiveOfOurOwn            On DeviantArt

Now the headcanon itself has been getting a lot of love over on Tumblr with 46 notes. Yes, on Tumblr that's barely any love, but I'm still new to the fandom's presence, so the 46 notes I did get is "a lot of love" for me. Anyway, my point is 37 different people have liked my theory, and it has been reblogged 9 times. As for the story itself, I received two likes on Tumblr; 40 faves between FFN, AO3, and DA; 364 views between the three sites; and six sweet reviews.
- Awww, that's adorable! And the thought that Marinette gave Adrien her lucky charm made by her dad is heart warming. Nothing she would do to a random person. But of course, she is jUst A fRieNd.

(in reference to the above review) Well, I accidentally posted a review from guest account, but it was me :B So, not to leave this one without meaning, let me tell you I admire your writing skills and ideas.

- Awww, such a sweet nice story! The only thing that shocked me was FIVE-YEAR-OLDS play games like Mecha Strike? I love my high school students, but clearly I am out of touch with anyone younger.

- Aw, I love it! So sweet and adorable. I agree with your theory about the bracelet. It doesn't look recent, so there's got to be some special meaning behind it. Some special memory, someone special giving it to her. Like you said, Tom and Sabine are the ultimate Parenting Goals.

- Awww! I love this headcanon so so much and it makes sense!! The story was so well written and it just flowed really nicely. Massive kudos to you!

- They totally are.
(In reference to my Author's Note about Marinette's parents being hidden treasures for the show)
Anyone else noticing a theme with how nearly all of those reviews started?

It got a nice review over at writers group as well. There was a sentence or two that they suggested I change, but as a whole I got nods of approval. One of the members commented that it felt so true-to-life, and she'd love to re-enact my story and use it as a "how to bond as a family" training video! hehe. So... yay!

Here's hoping the more I work on "One and the Same" the more I can come up with fun shorts like "Build Your Own Luck."

After watching the latest episode of "Miraculous Ladybug," and having at least one more episode before September is through, I might be inspired enough to keep my plot bunny farm wonderfully replenished. Perhaps the plethora of plot bunnies will help me stay on top of my writing, even with the new crazy schedule I have to navigate.

Now, I'm not the only one who has been inspired lately. Like I said at the top, Roz and I have been discussing writing ideas. I think I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that she's chasing after a story that came to her in a dream. She's also trying to build a new character for the X-Future board now that Hubby is trying to restart the game.

Omni also messaged me the other day to say that he thinks his writers block the past couple of months is because he was stumped with the culture for the race he created for his story. He did a rework and likes the new direction he's headed. I sent him some follow-up questions, and I think he's off to the races now. We'll see.

Also, it seems Jowy's Pixie has been wanting to write a blog for a while now, and after seeing this one, she has decided to give her own author's blog a shot. She's planning on talking about her fanfics, posting her own fantheories and headcanons, sharing her thoughts on the latest episodes, and generally talking about her writing process. She's new to blogging, so she doesn't have much up quite yet, but she seems to be leaning towards Sunday post updates, so keep an eye out for her.

You can find her over at Taurus Pixie.

Finally, since I'm promoting people anyway, how about another reminder that Celeste Straub has her first novel coming out in less than a month!

She now has pre-order links for all of her e-book sellers.
She's still working on last-minute edits before the finished product goes to the printer. Once the printer has the file, Straub should have a pre-order link for the print version. Assuming she gets said link by Monday I'll be sure to share it with you fine folks next week.

And for those of you that are on Facebook, Straub is throwing a month-long release party for her premiere book. The official Facebook party is on October 4th, but between now and then she'll post games and prizes.

If you would like to hang out with the author and some of her fans, you can hop on over to her Release Party.

Alright, well, as I mentioned earlier, it was after midnight when I finished writing this, and it's now past 10am by the time I finished getting my edits done. So I think that's enough of a delay on this post. Sorry one last time for that. I'm hoping to get back into the proper rhythm of things this upcoming week and actually updating at my normal time next Tuesday.

Also, it may now be September 12th, but I still feel the need to close out with one last thing: a solemn reminder.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

And Back Out Again

Well... that writing momentum died quickly!

Also, sorry for the delay on this week's post. I had a surprise visit from Ronoxym and Cyhyr this morning. So you can blame them for distracting me.

Anyway, this past week was actually pretty booked with other things, so writing kind of fell to the wayside.

I had a project I needed to finish for a gift, so that took up most of my freetime outside of work. That, and I ended up hanging out with Rozsavaria - formally known as Spink on this blog, but Rozsavaria is her main online handle, so that's her name here now - and she taught me how to knit.
It's not very good. I mean, it's not BAD, but it's also not very good.
I've had always been a bit intimidated by knitting, but it's actually pretty simple... at least, the very basic knit stitch, and when it is done in a row. Pearling is a pain, though. Trying to remember to work in reverse was a bit much for me....

Anyway, yeah, I just did a lot of crafting outside of work this week. And some socializing, hence the hang-out with Roz. Omnibladestrike also did his weekly hang-out with us on Sunday. Quarthix was over last Tuesday to draft for fantasy football before I went to writing group. I've been a bit busy.

Also, since I brought up the topic:
I like reviving old memes....

While I was at my job I actually - surprise, surprise - did work! Yeah! About once every other month I have to go through all of our clearanced out items. This list is usually an inventory of about 450 items between the actual furniture and the decorative items such as lamps and wall art. I have to double check the spreadsheet I created is up-to-date on pricing, price drops, items on the list, and how many items are left between all of the company's stores. I then scan the items, print off, cut, fold, and hang the new tags; again double checking the pricing verses my spreadsheet. I also have to double check that we have barcodes for everything, that everything on my list matches what is on our floor, that items that were sold were properly taken out of the system and off our inventory, and look for the inevitable one or two items that are on our list but I can't find on our floor. This past week I also added in the task to photograph everything so I can also keep together a visual inventory of things that are harder to differentiate based on the item name: such as lamps or wall art. So I kept myself hopping this past week.

This left virtually no free time to write, and the few minutes I probably could have written I ended up wasting on YouTube videos instead.

A year or two ago, after I read Dante's Inferno, I discovered a YouTube channel called Overly Sarcastic Productions.

It was fun, but I didn't really get too far into the channel. Mainly because - as most people seem to rationalize these days - I can totally sit and watch four 10-min long episodes because "come on; it's just 10minutes!" but heaven forbid I watch one of OSP's 26-min videos about classic literature... I just don't have the time for that!

Anyway, one day last week I was going through a writing post on Tumblr that talked about tropes and cliches: how to avoid them, and which ones you could keep in. The article commented about OSP's Trope Talks playlist for some great and humorous discussions about literary tropes. Basically Red breaks down the tropes, comments about how they can become bad cliches and hinder writing, but also talks about how they can be fantastic tools for improved writing.

And thus I was hooked. I just tore through all of the Trope Talks currently up, checked out a few of Blue's History Summarized, and I'm now going through the Miscellaneous Myths playlist.

Everything is informative, so I FEEL like I'm being productive. However, LEARNING about writing isn't actually writing, and in learning about writing I'm failing to CONTINUE writing, so it is a wash when all is said and done. I just hope my writing improves because of the "research" I've been doing.

My final bit of procrastinating? Well, you can blame Jowy's Pixie for that...

As I'm sure we're all well aware by now, Pixie is the one who has left me those lengthy, ugly-cry-inducing reviews on "Peeping Tomcat". Well, through my messages to thank her for all of her reviews, and her replies back, we've built up a nice rapport. I think it's safe to say we even have the starting seeds of a friendship.

Well, along with this budding friendship, I've also picked up on how articulate she is. She has her thoughts well thought out, and they are meaningful and unique. I just knew she was a good writer, even though she gobbled up a whole humble pie and thinks she's just "okay". I couldn't believe that, and so I hopped on over to her FFN profile. She has three on-going "Miraculous Ladybug" fanfics right now. All of them are 50,000+ words long!

I wasn't sure if I could invest in such long stories, but I wanted to at least get a taste of her work. So I chose the shortest one she had: an AU where Chat Noir is a cat demon instead of a superhero, and Marinette is just a simple girl.... that accidentally sold her soul to Chat Noir.
Accidentally selling her soul to a demon wasn't the smartest thing Marinette could have done while messing around with a Ouija board alone. Especially when that demon is the devious Chat Noir, demon prince of bad luck and destruction. AU.
It's called "Immortal Bond." It is a bit mature, intense, and dark though.

I've seen people subvert the "Chat Noir is a demon" trope... and yes, it is a trope; you'd be surprised how many came up with this idea. Sure, CN is a demon, but he's still playful and fairly in character. Pixie, on the other hand, doesn't try to subvert the trope. Chat Noir is a demon who TRIES to be nice, flirty, and protective of Marinette. However, he ends up being possessive, stalkerish, aggressive, emotionally abusive, and demanding. Thankfully, Pixie also has Marinette trying to find any way she can to escape from Chat Noir, and the story does address the stress and fear Marinette suffers. Even with all of that though, Chat Noir is still one of the "good guys" and is played as an anti-hero. Well... more of an anti-villain since he's the main antagonist. But it is largely hinted that there is a Big Bad villain that Chat is trying to protect Marinette from, so back to anti-hero?

My point being, while lots of people subvert the "a character is a demon" trope, and I went in totally expecting that, Pixie is not one of those writers. She goes gritty. So.... trigger warning? I guess? But if you can handle a darker theme it is well worth the read.

In fact, I actually read her whole story in just two days! I read the first five chapters on Sunday, and then the second half during the slow times at work on Monday. I have NEVER read a 50,000+ word story that fast! It just begged for me to keep going. True, there still needs to be some more polish to it and perhaps one really good line-edit revision, but what fanfiction doesn't?

The concept is compelling and intriguing to me. The characters are forced to be in darker and more severe situations than are presented on the show, which means there's no canonical precedent as to how Marinette or Chat Noir would act. This means they're both a bit out of character, but understandably so. What this also means is that the story doesn't HAVE to be a "Miraculous Ladybug" story. Pixie can rename the characters and she'd be good to go to have it be an original story. I hope that perhaps one day she does rework it as an original.

Anyway, if you're looking for a good lengthy story, don't mind waiting for the weekly updates on chapters, and can handle the darker themes, go check out "Immortal Bond."

Aaaaaaand, since I'm promoting stories now anyway, I might as well let you know that the pre-order links for "Leather and Lies" are finally live! Don't forget to check out Celeste Straub's premiere novel!
She only has two online locations available right now for pre-order, with more links becoming available in the near future. The links are also only for e-book pre-orders right now, but a link for a print copy pre-order will be up eventually.

For the time being, you can pre-order on Amazon and on Smashwords.

Other pre-order locations to come include: Kobo, Nook, iTunes, and GooglePlay.
I'll be sure to keep everyone posted.

And one more person to promote....

One of the artists I fell in love with via the Miraculous fandom is Eden Daphne. You probably read me commenting about her on here before. She's the artist and co-author for a few of my favorite fanfics:
 - When Duty and Desire Meet
 - Under Lock and Key
 - Freed in the Rain (a one-shot within an anthology)

Over the weekend she opened up her commissions. Her prices are actually really reasonable, even borderline "cheap" for the work.
I've missed her commissions availability before and I really wanted to get something drawn by her. I just couldn't decide what.

Do I go for an OC? And if so, who?
  • My first main OC Amara Yori... the Edge Lord?
  • My first X-Future character, the meek and motherly Lia Maddox?
  • Arguably my main X-Future character: party girl and playful flirt Willow Driver?
  • My psychotic, but fun to write, Brotherhood character Trish Morrison?
  • My main NPC Crystal McGinty?
  • My most-played D&D character Jolene Crisslebalm, the Golden Succubus?
  • My newest D&D character the gnome Elymoxa Welbys Alver Teenybump?
  • My Numenera character, the cyborg Jynna?
  • What about my Gyateara characters? Female lead Nathalie, or male lead Connor?
I also have about three or four characters from when I played "Vampire: The Masquerade", two or three more D&D characters, and the list goes on....

Alternatively, I could go for a lower tier, pay for the background and/or extra characters, and ask for scenes from "Peeping Tomcat." It would help me promote the story now that it's done, and it could have the added bonus of Eden Daphne possibly wanting to read my fanfic. The trick here though is which scene?
  • When Chat Noir first accidentally peeps on Marinette?
  • When Adrien and Marinette have their cute heart-to-heart on the subway?
  • Their pseudo-date at the movies?
    • And even then, do I go for Adrien helping Marinette clean up her spilled popcorn?
    • Or when he cheered her up by eating the rest of his popcorn that she accidentally knocked onto him?
    • Or when she grabs his hand during the intense part of the movie?
  • Do I showcase my original akumas?
    • Which one there? Mimicker in the mall with her army of Chloes?
    • Terravenger and his plant creatures after turning Place des Vosges into a dense forest; Marinette's family's home completely overrun?
    • Gremlin taking out the electronic devices outside Center Hall? 
  • What about when Chat Noir watches Marinette drawing the yin-yang dress?
  • When he watches her dance in her room?
  • What about the Chat Noir Appreciation Festival?
  • Do I not care about spoilers and have Eden Daphne draw Chat Noir finally seeing Tikki? Or even PLAGG first seeing Tikki?
There were so many options! I just couldn't narrow it down.

Then ChibiSunnie intelligently suggested I just write all the options down and draw from a hat to see which one to ask for. I asked Hubby to pull from the cup for me, and he did so in a very unconventional manner that I won't get into.

While Amara was the first slip of paper pulled, he quickly declared, without even looking at the slip of paper, that the LAST ONE in the cup will be the winner. This resulted in Willow being the winning "pick", although I could have overridden him and went with Amara instead since she was the first one pulled.

I almost did, too. Mainly because Chibi has drawn me a couple of cards that had Willow on them already, so I technically already had fanart of her... or, free commissions since I asked Chibi to draw Willow on my cards?

Anyway, I decided to go with the spirit of the lottery that Hubby came up with, and asked Eden Daphne for commissioned art of Willow. Luckily, I got my request to her before she closed her commissions again. It wasn't even open for 24hrs before she received enough requests that she needed to close commissions down! I sure lucked out in getting my request in on time!

I chose the "full color, full body, no background, only one character" option. It SHOULD come out to be the $70 listed on the above sheet, but I haven't received the invoice yet. I did send Eden Daphne my write-up of Willow's physical description and personality, as well as some reference pictures. She seems super excited to work on Willow's asymmetrical silver-haired bob with blue streaks.

While I get that drawing takes time, I also can't wait to see the first WIP sketches to come my way! It's going to be so cool when I get the completed artwork! I also gave Eden Daphne fair warning that I just might attempt to slot myself into more of her commission openings in the future. I feel she might have to turn me away soon enough so she can give other people a try!

Alright, now that I'm done with promoting everyone else's stuff, it's FINALLY time to promote my own.

Like I said, I didn't really do much writing this past week. However, I DID still need to reach that "one new story per month" goal. So I polished up the akumatizing side story for "One and the Same." It is crazy early to try to promote this sequel, and most people will probably forget about this side-story by the time the main one comes out.

That said, it was the only story I had written in August, and it was ready to publish with just one more pass-through for line-edits. No need to stress trying to write something new and edit it within a couple of days.

"Making Headlines"
On FanFiction            On ArchiveOfOurOwn            On DeviantArt

There isn't as much love for this story, mainly because it's so small - about 1000 words - and it doesn't include any of the main characters. I knew it was going to have low readership, though. All of my akumatizing stories have a small reader base. Even so, the reviews have been promising.
  • Oh damn! Of course you never cease to tease! ;p Intriguing, as always. Waiting for the continuation!
  • Ooh, I totally like this!
  • Oh, this is interesting! It makes me look forward to the story coming out next year!
  • I liked this tale, especially the interactions between Nadia (who herself isn't too sure of her job) and the upcoming Clara. Clara stuck to the broken bones and lost dogs news items is somewhat sad and yet real for starting reporters. Jammer maar helaas! (Its' a shame, but there is nothing to do about it! You'll have to admit it looks better in Dutch)
         I ADORE Headliner's outfit! She does have a "Press card" on her Fedora? That'd be awesome! I'm looking forward to next installments! I'd also want to thank you for all of your time you spend/lost on creating this wonderful, editing this great, writing out this amazing and most of all for sharing this delightful first chapter for our joy and contentment![sic]
I even received a review from my mother.
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman, Inc.
Mom: You actually have me hooked, so hurry up and tell me what happens. I knew eventually you'd write something for your mother.

HAHAHA! Happy to please, Mom! For those who don't know, while my mother is a strong cheerleader of mine, I never seem to write anything that she enjoys reading. It's either horror/thriller/gory, or it's "super nerdy" with it being a fanfic of a show she doesn't watch or a book she didn't read. She likes romance, and wishes I'd write more of that. So, honestly, this no-romance-involved story catching my mother's eye is a bit of a surprise to me. Glad to have her hooked though.

I also received another guest review, but it's probably my mom as well, since she tends to accidentally double post when she tries to edit something she already posted....
- "You actually have me hooked so you better write fast and tell me what happens."
I'm excited that I'm getting people pumped for this sequel.


Speaking of, this post is already about 5hrs late. I think I should call it 'good' and focus on my story instead. Let's just hope Eden Daphne or Jowy's Pixie don't update for a couple of days.