What Brings You Joy — Obviously this was just a sketchy little thing to cheer me up while I was worrying about my dog, but I’m happy about it because I haven’t drawn much in the last year and haven’t drawn Saitou and Sano for even longer. I think it’s a pretty sweet picture, too; I like to imagine what could make Saitou grin like that just when Sano was kissing him. Of course when I looked at the reference photo, my first decision had to be which guy would be which, but it wasn’t difficult — Saitou grinning joyfully while Sano looks more serious for once? Yes, please! So good jobon that.
TLY — One theme that’s building gradually in this story that I didn’t expect is the effect on real life of fantastic events — how your real-world attitudes and choices are affected by the art you experience. That’s actually a metaphorical theme in context, since the fantastic events in the story are quite literal… but they’re having an impact on the rest of my main character’s life very much like fictional events would; and a reader is far more likely to feel the same effect from fiction, making the theme applicable even in a metaphorical sense. It’s pretty cool to get that out of nowhere!
Untitled Saitou & Sano fic — I’ve made a good start on this, and am pleased so far with Saitou’s level of obvious fanboyishness and denial thereof. I think it will be a cute and funny story, and am happy to be working on it. I have a working title, but I’m not going to mention it here because if I decide not to use it for this one, I may want to reassign it. There’s plenty of time to think of something else if I feel the need to do so.
Occasionally it has happened that similarly formatted stories (or sometimes stories that start out the same, or stories that have similar themes, or contain the exact same lineup of characters in the same circumstances) end up next to each other in some way. Like Saitou’s Secret Fetish and Sano’s Secret Fear, two simplistically formatted stories with deliberately similar titles that have never been alphabetically separated; or Imaginary Moon and Inappropriate Methods, which, though they were written a year apart, are also alphabetically consecutive and both alternate between italicized and non-italicized scenes.
And now we’re going to have Naked Rooftops and this new thing released pretty close to each other and both featuring framing scenes around explanatory flashbacks. They’re not really similar in any other respect, and this isn’t a story format that’s come up often — nor is there any significance to its having come up twice in a row here — and that kinda makes this similarity combined with their chronological proximity all the more annoying. Obviously not annoying enough to ditch this untitled fic for now and work on something else instead, but still…
Blood Contingency part 15 — Oh, shit, son. Have I mentioned how much I love this story? I know, I know, I definitely have, and should probably stop doing it. But seriously this drama. THIS ANGST. I am cruel and unusual, and glorying in it.
This part has reached linear completion, but it may require a lot more editing than most parts because it’s our first real look at modern vampire Sano, and I want to make sure to get it just right. For all Joe has been obsessing over him for the last seven parts, Sano’s had remarkably little dialogue or even screentime in the odd-numbered bits.
Waybee deigned to assist me. She hasn’t co-authored anything with me in quite some time, but for this part she contributed the following:
Nine Decades — I came up with a title for the 90’s story, but it’s nothing spectacular; it’ll get replaced if I think of something better. And I started writing the 30’s story, as anticipated. So good times there.
Then I had this epiphany that was like being stuck by lightning out of a clear blue sky. It was two weeks or so ago and I am still just shocked beyond belief that I never realized this before.
It occurred to me that Trowa was also alive and having interesting experiences for those nine decades.
Why didn’t I think of this? Why has this collection of stories been exclusively about Duo all along? It absolutely baffles me that this never crossed my mind.
Not only does Trowa have a history of magical development — from clueless beginner to possibly the strongest and most knowledgeable practitioner in the country — he also regressed, over those years, from the confident, collected person he was to the paranoid, self-loathing recluse we get to know in the more modern parts of the series. And he spent that time searching for Duo, mastering the artifact, and performing magical favors for people, all of which could be very interesting to read about. And putting stories about Trowa parallel to those about Duo could make for a fascinating juxtaposition, since Duo didn’t regress the way Trowa did but was having more consistently unpleasant experiences.
That there are about a million good reasons for this to happen keeps me continually astonished that I never thought of this before. Whether or not it’s actually going to happen, it should have been on the table from the very beginning of this project rather than popping into my head literally more than a third of the way through. So weird!!!
And I don’t know if it will happen. The only reason for it not to is that I simply don’t have a single idea for any story about Trowa. So that’s the real question here. I would really, really like to make this a collection of eighteen shorts, but that’s nine more ideas I just don’t have XD So we’ll see!
Other HoH stuff — Obviously I was already thinking about plenty of this before; I never really stop thinking about HoH, to be honest. But because I’ve been rereading the entire series just lately in order to give it star ratings (and my prediction was right; Plastic got ), I’ve been inundated with ideas the way I usually am when I reread any of this stuff.
Thanks to Zombie Girl and her mad powers of helping me talk through things, the Aoshi & Soujirou story is gradually getting a detailed summary (i.e. specific part divisions) that will allow me to start writing it here pretty soon. It still promises to be ridiculously interesting. Sadly, I’m not sure anyone will read it, but I’ve faced that problem before, heh.
Thanks to liveonanon and her mad powers of telling me what Japan is like, Communication Skill is back on its summarization track too. I’m sure I’ve mentioned (though it’s not like you can’t tell from reading the stories about them) what a bad place (relationship-wise) I’ve left Hajime and Sano hanging in for way longer than I should have; it’ll be very good to help them along.
Of course I’ve left Heero and Duo hanging too, but theirs isn’t quite as bad, and there was a suggestion of a specific method of improvement in That Remarkable Optimism. The story I mentioned last time that may come right after CS will help a bit with that, and then we’ll get Wufei involved. I mean… that’s not actually relevant to… well, just… it’s going to be really funny.
Then two HoH one-shots that I’ve been vaguely contemplating for quite some time are taking more coherent shape now, and in fact both have titles. Once a story has a title, it tends to nag at me a lot more to work on it than before it had one. So that’s exciting.
All in all, HoH wants a lot from me all the time, and I’m working hard to keep up!
Archive stuff — I am so close to finished with these star ratings, you guys. There’s only a handful of stories left. Still haven’t made that special graphic for PohP, though XD
I finally reread Condition of Learned Helplessness. It was the last RK fic that needed a star rating, and it… still needs a star rating. Because I cannot decide how I feel about that fic.
I went in expecting it to be dreadful, expecting to cringe just as much as I always do over As the Years Go Up in Smoke, expecting to decide to take it down after not very long. And a single chapter in, I did decide to take it down… Only then, a couple chapters later, I changed my mind. Because in reality it’s a damn good story.
I feel like I dealt with Kenshin as a victim of rape — particularly a male victim of rape — pretty well, but I did an even better job dealing with the flaw of character that makes him have such a hard time handling the situation. And Saitou’s character flaw made a surprising amount of sense too; I had forgotten the bit about the drinking and smoking that casts everything in a new light. Sano’s advice and support is touching and fitting, and that ending about which I gushed so much in my stupid author’s notes really is pretty spectacular.
But it’s also a story about my favorite character of all time, a man with an unshakable moral code, as a rapist; about a victim in love with his abuser, whether or not he’s able to put that name to what he feels; and about a relationship that could have been wonderful but that I deliberately fucked up for my own twisted sense of interest. The follow-up is fantastic, but all it does is imply that the situation is now going to be inverted and remain every bit as unhealthy as it ever was. And I just don’t know how I feel about that.
As far as artistic merit goes, I think the fic probably deserves (or at least will, after some editing) a or even . But because of the horror I feel about the aforementioned issues, I’m kinda tempted to give it something more like a . I could average them out and go with something in the middle, but that doesn’t feel at all right. Actually, I’m quite tempted to make a .gif that fluctuates between the two extremes. That might be the most honest thing to do. We’ll see.
But moving on from CoLH. I also took a good hard look, recently, at all my organizational features around this place, and decided to completely rethink them. So I’ve been working extensively on story tags. I’ve finished everything except the “Contents” tags, which I’ve only just barely started; since they’re going to be much more thorough than before, I have to look at each story in detail to determine what tags it should have.
And I figured, since I’m already going to be looking at them all in detail anyway, I might as well give in to the soul-deep urge I’ve had ever since starting the star rating process and edit everything along the way. So that’s going to take a while, but it will be very satisfying. I’ve only done two stories — Aku Soku Zan(za) and All Sorts of Good Details — so far, but just that was very satisfying… and one of those is even in progress anyway XD
So that’s my long-overdue Productivity Log. Now to see if I can get an AEL done and get back on track with my life!