We’re heading up to Washington for several days, and one of the things I wanted to get done before I leave is to finish up this productivity log and get it posted.

Aku Soku Zan(za) — Oh, you guys, the ASZz rewrite has had an explosion of progress! I was kinda sitting around on a spot near the beginning, but I figured that out and then it just went right along. I’ve definitely decided to go chapterless, and I’m still very excited about getting to some specific bits and fixing them up.

I don’t know how far along it will transition from rewrite into heavy edit. Lots of the earlier stuff is really, really bad, but it gets distinctly better as the story progresses. There’s some incredibly good shit, too, though, like Saitou’s lecture to Sano that ends with, “And you?” Wow, that’s an awesome scene!

Warmth — So obviously I finished this picture. As I mentioned when I posted it, I definitely like the pastel pencils and will continue playing with thems. As for that picture, it’s… well, it’s OK enough to post. I was a bit lazy about the lineart, which I should never be when lineart is my biggest challenge. I need to make sure it looks good before I start coloring and really can’t fix the lines anymore.

I’m not sure how I made the posture look so stiff when the models were so relaxed. Nose-mouth-chin distance continues to be a problem, and Sano’s hand still looks like a floppy stuffed glove (which is kinda funny when Saitou’s gloved hand looks so much better!). Oh, well; I don’t really care all that much XD

TLY — With the work I’ve done on this project lately, I’ve been musing on a topic I’ve thought much about in the past: the difference in progression between a story that is presented to its audience chapter by chapter and a story that is presented all at once.

In the former case, even if you’re forty parts ahead, in writing, of where you are in posting, you still have the opportunity to alter things in response to your readers’ feedback… clarify things that don’t make sense, obscure things they aren’t supposed to be figuring out quite so quickly, and so on. In the latter case, if the majority of your readers react to something in such a way that you feel the need to change it, all you can do is edit the story for a future audience — since rereaders, though certainly desired, cannot be counted on.

TLY is not a romance (I KNOW RIGHT WHAT IS GOING ON), but there are two romantic couples forming quietly as the action progresses. I want these couples to develop naturally in such a way that, at the moment of revelation for either of them, the reader experiences no great shock or disbelief.

There may be some surprise — one of them is a cross-species couple, something many readers may not anticipate as they may take it for granted as not a possibility, and one of the members of that couple will, in fact, be surprised by it himself — but upon recollection of everything that has come before, I want readers to say, “Oh, yeah, I can see that.” And ideally, readers that are of a fanfictionary bent should have been saying all along, “I totally ship these two.”

So the issue arises in that this is a story I’m writing wholly ahead of time. Zombie Girl kindly listens to chapters of it, but hasn’t heard any of them since she moved to England. So I have no outside perspective, at this point, about the progression of the two relationships I’m trying to build both subtly and naturally. When this first book is finished and I force various people to read it right through (required to perform this function by virtue of being related to me), I will get their perspective on it, and can edit accordingly… but I kinda like more immediate and during-progress feedback, you know?

Not, of course, that this spoils my enjoyment of writing the story, or makes me worry about large amounts of editing I may have to do later. There are always large amounts of editing, so it might as well be related to one thing as to another. But it’s an interesting point to think about.

Archive updates — I made a permalinked entry about Saitou and Sano for various reasons, and it was something fun to think about in the midst of funeral/flight/taking-days-off-work plans. We’ll see what else I feel like adding to it in future.

The other change that’s happened around here is the removal of Princess of the Mists and The Promise of Immortality, on account of them not being very good and TPoI not being likely ever to become finished. I’m still considering (lazily) whether I’ll put back up the couple of drawings related to those stories that didn’t suck.

The other question that arises at such a moment is the same that arose back when I took down Sun and Shade and that has yet to be addressed: should I rework this into an original story? I wondered about PotM when I finished writing it over a decade ago, because at the time I felt the characters had slipped so far, in the alternate universe, from their canon characterizations that the story might as well be about original characters instead. I have not reread its entirety recently enough to determine whether I agree with my early-2000’s self.

As I’ve mentioned before, I hate to have a finished story (especially a fairly long one) sitting around doing nothing, and much that was not very good can be reworked into something great (see He Can Be Taught!) However, I have moral qualms about rewriting fanfiction as original work. If, however, that rewriting is being done because the characters one is a fan of are only marginally recognizable, that seems more acceptable, because at that point how much is it really fanfiction anyway?

The other problem with the idea of turning PotM into an original story (a consideration that doesn’t apply to SaS, heh) is that there’s absolutely nothing original about it. The AU is the most generic fantasy setting conceivable played perfectly straight, and the only thing that made it interesting in the first place was the presence of already-beloved characters falling in love out of water, as it were. So what, really, would be gained by removing that one major source of interest?

The plot isn’t bad, I suppose, and I do have a happy daydream of turning two of the four main characters female so as to get some lesbian in there… but in general it just doesn’t seem worth the effort. That endless niggling that occurs when a completed story is hanging around pointlessly, though, will continue to have its effect, so we’ll see what I end up deciding. Still up in the air about SaS, too, but if silly PotM scores a rewrite, the much better SaS definitely will.