Sooo....

Jan. 7th, 2019 03:46 pm
auronlu: (Haz A Sword)
... I'm back from visiting family up north, laden with pokemon gleaned from the frozen wastes. I now have even more respect for those still playing this silly game in rural areas with no gyms and maybe one pokestop within a several mile radius.

Those were wonderful walks in the snow. I snapped some amusing photos of various mons jumping about in real wintry landscapes, as well as photos of real critters like chickadees and my parents' redoubtable cat in the snow, but I'm glad to be back in the warm.

Visiting parents gives me almost no time to do anything creative (or at least, by the time I have time, it's late and I am out of spoons for anything but mindless gaming).

For one of the chapters I posted while I was away, I treid to draw a Dramatic Auron Combat Pose. Apparently 3 years of drawing/painting still life has not adequately prepared me to draw dynamic action scenes... yet. His pose wasn't too bad, but I crashed and burned trying to draw the iron giant and forest behind him.

I am itching to try again, and also to redraw the ship in last Friday's illustration, which I could probably do better. But I should move ahead before redoing things already done.

Besides PGo, I've been pecking away at FFRK but no longer worry about using up all my stamina points. I'm bummed that I misread the deadline for a relic draw and amassed the 50 mythril needed for it just after the draw for Lulu's ultra weapon closed.

Looking on my reading page, I see several friends doing a "Snowflake" prompt of some sort that includes fic recs and other fandom-related stuff. I'm randomly seconding [personal profile] owlmoose desire for more Paine/Nooj, which is a ship she taught me to appreciate many years ago. Also, [personal profile] sarasa_cat has some good shortfic writing community recs.

On hellsite, Tumblr has finally given us a tool to see which posts it's flagged, and I'm amused to report that "I am happy Walter wants to arouse me" got flagged (but was unflagged on appeal).
auronlu: (Lady)
Having edited it, revised it, and hacked out about 15,000 words, I'm planning to start reposting Love Her and Despair, my FFX AU sequel ("What if Yuna had chosen the Final Summoning?"), one chapter a week starting on Friday December 14, 11 years after I started posting it on LJ.

No, the final few chapters are NOT quite finished, so you will have to have faith (as I do) that they will BE finished by the time I get there. But I certainly have plenty of time.

I'm going to post new entries for the revised chapters, with links to the old posted chapters with reader comments that in some cases influenced my thinking and/or revisions.

I hope to add a few illustrations, but we'll see. A few talented readers have submitted fanart in the past which I will most certainly shill.

NOTE: this means the sticky post at the top of my blog is out of date. I'll have that sorted soon, but for now, those links point to the pre-revision 2007-2012 version of the fic.
auronlu: (Default)
Getting sick and then starting a new fibromyalgia medication with NASTY SIDE EFFECTS during the adjustment period ate my November, and now the festive season is upon us, when I visit my relatives for two weeks and have to find Multiple Presents for them. Good news is of the side effects have gone now except for excessive sleepiness which makes writing challenging.

Also, hilariously, it's induced a ton of Pokemon Go because I can fight off the urge to nap by walking. Except then my hands hurt if I catch too many mons. Last week I cracked 50km for the first time, which is huge, since I was barely walking last March.

Back in Final Fantasy land:

I'm mourning that the Tumblr snafu has thrown Mintywolf's wonderful Lulu & Yuna magnum opus (graphic novel) out of order, flagging perfectly innocent pages and then tossing them to the front of her blog when they passed appeal. It's still in the correct order on the DeviantArt mirror.

The great edit of my FFX novella, Love Her and Despair, finished before I got sick. I have made headway on following chapters, but it's still not done. This worries me but not unduly. It's the main creative project i have on deck now, other than various bits of art. I've been able to do a lot of it on iPad, which is great because it means I can take it with me. Also I've bought myself a bluetooth keyboard to help.

I'm still playing FFRK, but not as consistently. I'm not enamored of their OC inserts into FF storylines, although the retro graphics versions of FFX, FFVIII and XIII are *adorb*. Also, it's fun replaying III, which has always charmed me for its innocence. I'm slowly banging on 3* magicites, having yet to break through 4*. I tend to focus on augmenting characters' sphere grids, mastering new soul breaks and upgrading/combining the best weapons.

Apparently giving characters new abilities and making them stronger is one of my favorite bits of RPGing? I notice I do the same thing in PGo; I'm always working on improving my favorite critters after painstakingly identifying those with the best base stats (not necessarily the ones experts say are the best fighters).

The Tumblr upheaval is annoying, especially because I can't seem to wean myself off the site. There's too much Who community and other communities still remain there. But we've seen it all before. This Vox article is worth a skim.

I've expected this ever since Yahoo bought it, but I kept hoping the incompetent programming would continue to go hand in hand with benign neglect.
auronlu: (Default)
Are my paragraphs too short?

Since I compose in 18 point type, my paragraphs look long enough to me. But when I look at them on a large display, I see a lot of short choppy paragraphs. I feel like typical paragraph lengths in fic have shortened over my lifetime, but I'm not sure.

Here's the kind of thing I worry about.
auronlu: Icon says, "Does it COUNT as a WRITING SESSION if I only touched the delete key?" (deletekey)
The great pruning continues!

I've deleted 8500 words, and I expect to push that to at least 10K. All the chapters I've pruned are now below 3000 words, and more than half are below 2000, although the 2K list will grow once I've merged the shortest chapters (which I'd split at the behest of readers, but that wasn't how they were written).

The biggest victory so far is a rewrite of one of the last two boggy chapters, which is when the wheels started falling off. I've cut bog #1 from 4238 words down to 2796.The final posted chapter I need to rewrite is 4700 words. Between now and the end of the month, I need to bring that wordcount below 3000 by hook or by crook.

Then I can use NaNo to write what I hope will be the last 5 chapters.

The most important change to my writing in the last ten years is that I've learned to treat story elements as functional, rather than experiential. Before, I tried to bring the story to life so that readers could experience the adventures, struggles and triumphs the characters were going through.

Now I ask myself, "What does this contribute to the plot? What does it set up later in the story? Is this something the audience needs to know about the character?"

I'm still fighting my inner Tolkien. But I'm getting there.
auronlu: (Default)
 Editing is up through Ch 44, and at least some will be happy to know I've trimmed about 2K words. (And a reminder that the early chapters were mostly around 1200-1500 words, which are damn short chapters.) 

I've gotten up through the end of the epic battle with Sin/Yu Yevon, and the aftermath chapter immediately after it.

The final few posted chapters I need to see if I can consolidate/revamp, making it 1-2 chapters shorter. I was trying to resolve a lot of plot threads, let all the characters respond to what's happened, and give Lulu a chance to be front and center after she's spent the whole story behind the scenes and mostly offstage. I needed to show her recovery. But it dragged a bit. I'm sure there's ways to cut down to the essentials of those chapters and get on with the final showdown faster. 

But I know at least one of my readers really really loves the "Sunrise" chapter with Lulu meeting Rikku's daughter, so I wanna see if I can get that settled before I go. :) 

EDIT: I just finished transferring all my old working documents scattered across Pages and TextEdit into Scrivener. There's about 15 different versions of chapter 50, so no wonder it was getting away from me. IN SCRIVENER I TRUST that I'll be untangle this. (also, I have more skills and better discipline about "this is good character study/atmospheric stuff, but it doesn't move the plot forward or serve the story in some vital way, so DROP IT.)
auronlu: (Haz A Sword)
Whoops.

As you may have noticed, I accidentally hit "Update date" on one of LHAD's chapters while editing that post, and DW won't let me change it back. So chapter 3 is now flopping around in the current month's posts, even though it should be dated waaay back in 2008.

At any rate, the important thing is that I've now edited LHAD up through Chapter 17, the "Homecoming" chapter where Auron encounters Rikku and her family.

So yeah. I'm planning to start posting these chapters once a week on Tumblr starting mid-December, but for those who expressed an interest in rereading: 

Love Her and Despair Ch. 1 on AO3 | on Dreamwidth (missing a few author's notes from the AO3 version) [EDIT: I've added the author's notes to the Dreamwidth version and added some new ones to both versions.]

It feels really good to be working on this again. To be ABLE to work on this again.
auronlu: (Swordsman-Sorceress)
Guardian and Love Her and Despair always had some sort of non-relationship with each other, since [personal profile] mintywolf and I were both fascinated by Lulu offering to become the fayth of the Final Summoning in FFX, but tackled the concept from opposite directions: she was primarily focused on what lay behind that offer, whereas I was focused on what might follow.

(I had forgotten that I told [personal profile] trekqueen my initial brainstorm for LHAD way back in 2007, posting the first chapter in December, and it might've been co-authored if I were better at sharing my toys).

So Guardian and LHAD went in different directions, since we had different interests and interpretations of certain characters— although over the years some of my views have been influenced by Guardian. Crucially, Mintywolf had a plan all along, whereas all I had were key concepts, a premise and an ending scene I was writing towards. I was terrible at plot back then. All I could handle was character, combat, dialogue, and poetic description. 

Hence my shamelessly borrowing elements of plot structure from FFX and LOTR. 

Anyway. You know LHAD has been stuck all these years. In the meantime I've written a fair amount in classic Who fandom. I've learned to structure plot. I'm tempted to apply what I now know to rewrite LHAD with better structure and pacing. But that's crazy-talk. People enjoyed it even as it was, and I'm terrible at finishing things, so I just need to FINISH THE THING, even if most of my readers moved on long ago. 

Thanks to Guardian, I've recently shifted my headspace back in FFX-land, enough that I've been listening to Siri read LHAD aloud to me over the past few months, mulling over the ending (the next chapter was largely written when I got stuck), and making editorial notes on existing chapters. 

But first I should say— as I've been saying on Tumblr— Guardian is an AMAZING and possibly unique fanwork, a fully-illustrated novella-length graphic novel, FFX reimagined with the female characters as primary, and the primary relationship is a bond of love between two women that grows and evolves over the years. I'm still in awe that the artist stuck to a schedule and posted a page a week for six years, apart from a few vacations, which is why Guardian is FINISHED despite being launched nearly five years after LHAD.

So go look at Guardian (but keep in mind Minty's going to be posting the reraw of 2 and 3 soonish). I've been enjoying rereading it all now that it's over, and I've been taking notes for a not-actually-liveblog of the "remaster."

And get ready to reread LHAD in a couple months! I'm going to start posting my own remaster on Tumblr December 14, eleven years after the original chapter 1 was posted. I'm editing it now, revamping the Dreamwidth and AO3 editions as I go, but those edits are only up through chapter 4. :) 

auronlu: (Writer's Block)
I'm sticking stubbornly to my self-imposed rule that my [community profile] getyourwordsout word count only includes creative work, even though I'm writing a ton of stuff which is not creative.

So. For the first part of the month, I was writing a lot of Let's Play, in which I've gotten bogged down now. Later I had a rash of writing reviews.

May Wordcount: 23,412
  • Creative: 1903 for somewhat-stalled novella + outline for short story contest*
  • Reviews: 10,273 words for 16 reviews (new record!)
  • Let's Play: 11,276 words for Let's Play Revenant Wings (which I need to get back to; I seem to be able to juggle two big projects at a time)
My creative wordcount for the year is 30,278. My total word count (creative writing plus audio reviews and Let's Play posts, which in theory are monetized although in practice neither blog earns much) clocks in at 122,180 so far, and that doesn't include informal fandom posts on Tumblr or DW. 

The novella was stalled for the first 3 weeks of May, but now I've been putting the finishing touches on Act One and the all-important breakpoint when status quo established in Act One explodes, heroes are catapulted into the plot whether they like it or not, and nothing will ever be the same. I'm editing as I go, so I wrote considerably more words than that word count reflects.

*Big Finish is holding a classic Who short story contest this month. The prize is getting your story picked up by its Short Trips audio series, performed by the appropriate classic Doctor Who actor (assuming they're available, but most are willing to read/act a half hour story.) Short Trips are $3 half-hour audiobooks, separate from the full cast, full-sound-effects radio plays. My mind immediately went blank when I saw the contest announcement. I am terrible at writing to spec. 

But I want to do something with the Nyssa and Tegan, the only TARDIS team in all of Doctor Who when the companions were two women BFFs.



auronlu: (Writer's Block)
I continue to be inspired by [community profile] getyourwordsout, even though technically I wrote only one tiny snippet of fic that qualifies for my official creative writing tally.

April Wordcount 521 (35,608 total)
  • Creative: 521 for one flashfic (classic Who, Five/Nyssa fluff)
  • Reviews: 5979 for seven reviews (goal for year: 100 reviews; 37 written so far)
  • Let's Play: A whopping 29,108 for seven entries, not including three nearly-ready drafts.
I'm tempted to start counting my reviews and LP towards GYWO, but I must resist: I signed up to help inspire me towards a creative writing project, so that doesn't count, even though this is a lot of words!

But I feel good about those LP posts, so I'm not gonna beat myself up over it. I just need to finish it and get back to what I was doing!

Oh, and while I'm at it, April fanart. All done in 15-30 minutes.

All Doctor Who, sorry. )
auronlu: Icon says, "Does it COUNT as a WRITING SESSION if I only touched the delete key?" (deletekey)
I'm afraid I tagged on the heels of [personal profile] vieralynn and discovered Get Your Words Out at the last possible second.

I normally shun NaNo because I don't have self-discipline (or ideas for longer fics) and do have chronic health issues. I avoid gift-work exchanges, because I'm always afraid that I'll fail and let someone down.

However, this year, I have two long-form fics I want to work on, and I have definite plans for them. So perhaps this will help me with motivation, although LHAD has foundered for so many years I don't know if I can ever revive it. But I wish I could.

Dreamwidth or OpenID: Auronlu (although my first project is on my Who fandom blog.) I'm still a little uneasy about linking up my different fandom handles, so I'm not sure how I'm going to handle that project. I'll worry bout that when I have something to post.
Livejournal: auronlu but largely moribund
Tumblr: Auronlu
Pledge: 75K Light
Statement of writing goals: 1. Write High Hierophant from start to finish, post. (Right now it's in the planning stages with about 3200 words of draft.) 2. Write and post 100 reviews on VHSWhovian. (This is one fandom project that's going along tickety-boo.) 3. Work on LHAD, using the plot structuring/organization tools I'm learning via Story Engineering.

NaNoFiMo

Oct. 31st, 2013 06:43 pm
auronlu: (Writer's Block)
[livejournal.com profile] ursulav has a nifty acronym for what I am going to try and do in November: finish LHAD (or at least get closer).

NaNoFiMo.

(With thanks to Minty for encouraging me!)
auronlu: Icon says, "Does it COUNT as a WRITING SESSION if I only touched the delete key?" (deletekey)
Heh. Here I'd given up posting a word count, since my progress is measured in posted chapters not words written, but I wish to celebrate a minor victory. The logjam chapter from hell is finally starting to untangle itself.

New words for the week of Nov 15-21: 2519. That's not including deleted/edited words, just positive word count.

And now for something completely different. So that this is not entirely a boring post, here's Haruno Sumire doing what she does so well. Just in case you need smexy company during the late shift, Sissy.


translation here

Note to self so I can find it later: 2002 Flower Troupe Elisabeth. (Does that DVD play in U.S. video players?)
auronlu: (Fangsmirk)
Was feeling low, but fandom has not let me down.


Sazh Katzroy - Sunleth Waterscape
by ~shinyspikes on deviantART


In other news, while I've given up the pointless exercise of a wordcount since I'm not actually aiming for a particular wordcount, 900 words of epic battle-description spewed out last night, giving me high hopes for the next chapter of LHAD. Unlike most other key scenes that I had anticipated for years, it came out fairly effortlessly and was even better than the scribbled notes of five years ago. 

Now if I can just breathe life into the LINK chapter that leads to it. I keep massaging it like over-stimulated pie dough, and it's not working. Come on, everybody, how hard is it to sort yourselves into an adventure party and stay-behind party and pick up your traps and get MOVING already?! The Muster of Horse Stinking Rohan did not take this long. (At least it's not as bad as that chapter in FOTR where they all hop in the boats and start paddling away from Lorien only to realize — WHOOPS, FORGOT A POIGNANT FAREWELL SCENE! — so they turn back and have a picnic with Galadriel.)
auronlu: Icon says, "Does it COUNT as a WRITING SESSION if I only touched the delete key?" (deletekey)
A bit silly to be posting word counts when I so clearly am NOT going to get 50K out of this month...I'll be lucky to manage two chapters. But some progress is occurring despite being dreadfully sick, so I'll call this good. (As usual, I delete about twice as many words as I write each day.)



4022 / 50000 words. 8% done!

In other news, grade B movies like Stardust* are sooooo much better when one is sick and laid abed. The land of Counterpane has been updated with an iPad and noise cancelling headphones.

*The film is so much better than the book. Which admittedly isn't saying much, as it's Gaiman's first Gary Stu fantasy novel, with gender dynamics only slightly more mature than Eye of Argon.
auronlu: Icon says, "Does it COUNT as a WRITING SESSION if I only touched the delete key?" (deletekey)
So, daily bash at Love Her and Despair for NaNoMo once again is resembling Tolkien in all the wrong ways. Have you ever seen his early drafts for LOTR?

Chapter 50 of LHAD consists of 15 pages of overlapping, contradicting and alternative character interactions, as I attempt to pare down the cast list, tie up plot threads and jettison NPCs. I just printed out everything, cut the overlapping bits into puzzle pieces and arranged them on my desk. Gaaah. Too. Many. Pieces. Which to use, which to cut? *pokity pokity poke*

 
3028 / 50000 words. 6% done!

I've been following FFX's real story structure very loosely so far (shamelessly spliced with bits of plot structure borrowed from LOTR). This is that messy bit after Zanarkand when you get the airship, but instead of going after the Really Ultimate Endgame sequence you're tempted by a gazillion sidequests.

Or, according to the Lord of the Rings timeline, we just finished the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and everyone's meeting up in Aragorn's tent for a strategy session (except Sam and Frodo, who are regrouping in a ditch on the other side of the pass of Cirith Ungol). Based on FFX's structure, that scene should go something like...

 

The pre-endgame of ROTK, Final Fantasy style...
 

Aragorn: We are now marshalling our forces for the last battle of Middle Earth. Who's with me?
Gandalf: But first...
Everybody: SIDEQUESTS!
Faramir and Eowyn: Secondary characters need their plot arcs tied up, stat!
Sam and Frodo: We gotta do some level grinding before we cross that volcanic plain. It looks scary.
Gandalf: I think I need to go acquire a Valefor Eagle Summons. You never know when wings could come in handy.
Imrahil: We've got one of those tactics-style field battles coming up. Better replenish the various kinds of troops. Cavalry, infantry...
Aragorn: Er... I finished my ultimate weapon quest ages ago. C'mon, guys, we don't have time for this!
*Everyone scatters to do sidequests*
*Aragorn and Eomer look at each other, shrug, and wander off for a slash scene*

Er, uh, yeah. So anyway. I will firmly resist sidequests, but it's taking a bit of cat herding -- once again -- to shuffle a great many Faramirs & Eowyns off the stage so that I can get on with the Really Ultimate Dungeon. (Also, I'm still waffling about who gets to be in the ultimate dungeon party. And then there's Rikku and Wakka's sprogs. Can't I just tuck them away in the portable hole where Lucas stashed the Imperial Battlefleet at the end of Return of the Jedi?) 
auronlu: (Writer's Block)
Rggggh.

So tired. Meant to get more today, but I just utterly crashed. Stress buildup from past week was worse than I realized, for all my clever self-distraction and news avoidance exercises.

Still, a bit of progress is progress.


 
2713 / 50000 words. 5% done!
auronlu: (Blitzball)
So I was just pecking at a heated argument for my next chapter, and was once again reminded about one of the perpetual tropes in Final Fantasy X:

In the time I spent on Babylon 5, I learned about choices and consequences and responsibility. I learned that we all have choices, even when we don’t recognize them, and that those choices have consequences, not just for ourselves, but for others. We must assume responsibility for those consequences. I and my fellow officers had to choose between what we were told was right and what we believed was right.

Er, yeah. John Sheridan is Tidus (a.k.a. "Hey You" or "You-Know-Who" in game dialogue, which means he's actually Voldemort. Nevermind.)

Anyway, my point: the "choices" trope.

How the Choices Trope plays out in FFX )
auronlu: Icon says, "Does it COUNT as a WRITING SESSION if I only touched the delete key?" (deletekey)
Word count at the start of the day for LHAD Ch. 49: 5071
Word count at the end of the day for the same chapter, when I actually posted it: 4986
Total words produced today: -115.

As I noted on [livejournal.com profile] wrisomifu, "I'm pretty sure I created some new words today, too. They are now huddled in the corner trembling and awaiting tomorrow's pruning shears."

Now I remember why I used to call my dissertation the Zeno's Paradox PhD Paper.

But you know what? I am going to pretend that those negative words are PROGRESS.



2333 / 50000 words. 5% done!

(In fact, I should simply post a total published word count at month's end, but I need a visual motivator.)
auronlu: (Lulu Elegant)
824 words today, nearly the same output as the last two days.



1718 / 50000 words. 3% done!

Continuing to be amused by the [livejournal.com profile] wrisomifu, although I fear I'm not participating enough in the feedback threads.

Today's writing session, in sum: "Ye gods, I've just written an entire scene describing a fricking DRESS. And MAKE-UP. WTF?"

However, Lulu is clearly more of a clothes horse than yours truly, and I can't leave her stuck in a Yevonite nun's habit for the rest of the story. That's just not right. I don't think she can conjure up a corset, leather and lace just by snapping her fingers, so some "girding of the hero" business is required.

Lace. I knew I'd forgotten something. Nevermind.

Which reminds me:


A Better World - Ice Goddess
by *Lillyxandra on deviantART

Thankfully, I only saw this after I'd already written a rough draft of the description of Lulu's new duds and had a mental image of what she was wearing; otherwise I might've been tempted to stuff her into it. (The colors are all wrong, however; much too pale for her. Also, too easy to get the drape snagged in battle. I am fairly certain that Lulu's insanely high evasion stat derives from learning how to fight in an evening gown, perhaps using the skirt like a bullfighter's cape, but still, there's limits.)

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