Well, it’s been, like, six months since my last Productivity Log, so I hardly know what to say XD There’s no way I’ll remember everything I’ve wanted to mention about everything I’ve worked on, so this is likely to be a little random and scattered.
To start with, the book. I released the Kindle version on, I believe, December 18th, and then the Amazon paperback was available not long after. Then Barnes and Noble edition took forever, not least because they’re as bad at communication as HoH Hajime and never let you know when things are ready or when some problem is preventing things from becoming ready. I’ve been very surprised at what a poor company to work with they’ve proven. Still, the Nook ebook and Barnes and Noble paperback are both (supposedly) available. I’ve also released another paperback edition through Lulu in case anyone wants to buy from a smaller company rather than the media giants.
The Lulu edition has a glossy cover, so that’s fun. I can’t decide which I like better since they’re both beautiful, but you can wipe fingerprints off the glossy one much more easily XD Sister’s cover art is freaking gorgeous. I can’t get enough of it. I have about eight proof copies kicking around my bedroom, and I always stop and look at the cover as I pass. It was a long wait, but totally worth it. Still, I do need to get her a description of the second book’s cover sooner rather than later so hopefully she’ll be done before I am this time, heh.
As for success, there’s been very little. Most of my co-workers bought copies, but that’s just about it. As far as I know, only two or three people have actually read the book. I have no online community left to advertise to, and, though I’ve handed out a lot of the cute business cards I had printed, they don’t seem to have generated any sales. I’d like to pay Amazon to advertise the book for me on Kindles and stuff, but they kicked back my campaign saying it won’t work because the title of the book isn’t on the cover.
And as for the kids to whom the book is dedicated, I sent them a copy immediately I had one available to sign for them (so at the beginning of January-ish), but I have heard nothing. I can only assume this means nobody liked it (perhaps nobody liked it enough to even finish it!), and they just don’t want to hurt my feelings by saying so. Ah, well.
Mom did leave me a review on Amazon (though she hasn’t actually read the finished book, only the August draft), and that was exciting.
So now I’m working on the second book. That’s exciting too. I don’t have much to say about it at the moment, though, so I suppose I’ll move on.
NQF — I desperately feared that, only my second year doing this, I would get zero prompts and write zero stories (mostly because of the whole RK thing, but also because, at the end of my stint on tumblr, nobody was watching me there anymore XD). But by harassing my family and co-workers and getting a couple of prompts from people on the internet as well, I scraped by — and had a lot of fun doing it. What was especially fun was working in such a variety of fandoms. Quick thoughts on individual stories:
A Legion of Hideous Minions — What I liked best about writing this one was coming up with costumes for everyone. I had to figure out things that were fairly in character, could be mistaken for actual fantasy monsters, and would unsettle or even scare a gargoyle warrior that didn’t know what was going on. It’s a very fluffy story, but I still had fun with it.
Failure, Horror, Shock, Heartbreak — I don’t know why I never considered, before, how much of an easier start into a new fandom it might be if the first story was about an original character. Kinda sneak in the back, you know? Anyway, brother asked for this sad thing, and I think it turned out really good. I envision Cedulie going on to become the next Ladybug and working tirelessly to get Adrien back and help Marinette recover.
Escape From Reality — And here, of course, is a much more straightforward, traditional Miraculous fic, which I think also turned out pretty well. It’s super fun coming up with akumatized villains and their schtick and ways for Ladybug to use her Lucky Charm! I will definitely be writing more Miraculous fic in future. In fact, I have one pretty well fleshed out in my head right now. We’ll see if I can work on that today.
Her Own Words — Fics that are solely character study/”so-and-so’s thoughts” tend to be really boring (though I don’t mind them as segments of longer works), so I thought I’d try to spice this up by writing song lyrics to insert and making a sort of songfic out of it. It’s still that special kind of fluff that seems incomplete and disconnected from anything significant, but I do think the lyrics make it more tolerable as such.
Displaced, of Unknown Provenance — My co-worker suggested the tritest, cheesiest story idea in history, and I think I actually managed to make something pretty good out of it. All the little hints at Marjorie’s past and her PTSD and long-term obsession are what make it worth reading, I think.
Blind Repair — This is mostly rambling nonsense, and I don’t know that I really captured the dynamic among the characters the prompter wanted, but it has some fun moments. I particularly like Zuko’s statement regarding Sokka’s mom.
The Phenomenal Improbability of This Coincidence — Co-worker and I, earlier than November, had discussed our favorite Disney fan-theories; she mentioned that she loved the one about Tarzan being the brother of Elsa and Anna, and I mentioned how much I loved the idea of Jane being descended from Belle. So when she asked for a story about her favorite theory, of course I was going to put mine in as well :D I actually re-watched Disney’s Tarzan for reference, and loved it as much as ever. Jane is too adorable. This story was super fun to write and, I think, turned out great. It was awesome to combine the glove symbolism from Tarzan and Frozen, to #GiveElsaAGirlfriend, to imply a happy ending for everyone.
Oops, second paragraph for this one. I did have to mess with the timeline a little, to imply that Frozen had taken place a little later, and Tarzan a little earlier, than their generally accepted time frames. That’s the problem with that fan theory, of course — it just doesn’t quite work with the vaguely established dates. But in any case, the time frame definitely worked with the issues I gave Jane and her late mother’s prejudices. AAhh, what a fun story this was. And moving on from NQF…
A Lois Date — Somehow I got the idea for this and wrote it entirely over winter break. That’s always pleasing. It’s my first published DCAU fic, but of course I’m still working on Of The Same Opinion Still in the background. The latter is likely to seem a lot more meaningful than this one, but this one was still cute, I thought. Pretty fluffy, but I liked giving a picture of the relationship I’m so into in this world. I have a few more ideas floating around for stories set in the same continuity, but we’ll see if anything ever comes of that.
Aku Soku Zan(za) — So I’ve mentioned before how silly it was in the original that Katsu pretty well didn’t care that Sano had stopped him from going through with plans he’d been concocting for who knows how long and had put all his faith in. He just woke up and forgave him right away, and left me shaking my head for years. In this rewrite, their making-up conversation is now one of my favorite parts of the story so far. They’re so awkward, and want so desperately to be friends — or brothers! — again. Also I love having drawn a parallel, as I didn’t in the original, between Sano being inspired by Saitou and Katsu being inspired by Tokio. I love this story, no matter what tragedy has taken place. This is like my complete rewrite of RK disregarding Dead Author and his terribleness.
Blood Contingency — I don’t really have anything to say about the most recent part. But this is the next item on my fanfiction list, and I’m super excited for what’s coming up. I have it all clear in my head, and I just can’t wait to get to it. It’s one of those things that the reader knows has to happen but still kinda hopes won’t happen. So much sadness!!
Communication Skill (and some HoH thoughts) — Communication Skill is the current item on my fanfiction list, and I’m just about finished with the second part (at which point I will rotate on to BC). It’s coming along well, and soon I’ll be in the midst of Hajime and Sano’s first real argument about the way things stand and the unhealthy current status of their relationship, so that’s good.
I reread all of HoH, which is something I do more frequently than I care to admit. This time, though, I determined that both Seeing Red and La Confrérie de la Lune Révéré are better than Plastic (which is in desperate need of work), that they both deserve 5 stars while Plastic needs to be knocked down to 4.5. And that’s funny, since for years I’ve been considering Plastic my best work. But it actually runs a little toward tedium in the middle. I’ll fix the stars when I get to working on those stories’ tags and such. Which brings me to my next topic…
Websitely — Obviously I’ve redone the entire site. I upgraded my account and now have access to many more and better developer tools than before. And since my mom pays for Divi and is allowed to use it on as many sites as she wants to, I’ve been using that to redesign everything. It’s been HELLA fun and made for a much better-looking and more streamlined browsing process around here. I’m going to redo the official TLY website next.
Older non-story entries (i.e. past the first page of entries) don’t have commenting enabled, because I’d have to manually edit each of them to put that in at this point and that doesn’t seem worth it. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to comment on them anyway, so I’m not too worried — but it is a little weird to see a “0 comments” note in the meta-data when it’s not even possible to comment XD Actually, I should really just remove the comments count for all posts. OK, I did that. Better.
See, one of the things I’ve been trying to do is give the place a more static feel. I’ve had almost no outside engagement for quite some time, but up until now it’s always seemed as if I expected a greater level of engagement than I was getting, which felt kinda… desperate. Undignified. This may seem silly, but I wanted to get rid of that feeling. This isn’t exactly a jumpin’ club, and I’d rather it feel that way.
I got rid of the sidebar. It was bugging me more and more to have the real content of the site squeezed into 1/3 of the page, and it’s not like I have a lot of peripheral information that needs to be constantly on display in a sidebar anyway. Divi has a few quirks, though, and one of them is that a sidebar very occasionally randomly appears while browsing. It doesn’t break anything, but it is a tiny bit annoying.
I probably have another dozen things to say about redoing the site, but not only are they totally uninteresting to everyone but me, I can’t think what they are at the moment. So I’ll just move on.
Rose Pale — For years I’ve been dissatisfied with this story. Most specifically, with the way I treated Une as a female character and a neurodivergent character. The problem was, both those aspects of my treatment of her were consistent with canon. And with everything else so changed from canon, and the one really canon-consistent aspect of characterization being so cringe-worthy, it became more and more evident that Rose Pale simply did not make good fanfiction. So I’ve decided to transform it into original fiction (or as original as faerytale retellings ever are). That way I can completely rework the faery so I don’t find her so offensive, rework the other characters so I can do what I’d really like with them, and sell the thing.
The artistic and social reasons for doing this are the greatest, but practicality has its place as well. The arthritis in my hands and wrists (I mean, it’s everywhere, but these are the parts that have been hit hardest), which is looking like it might be rheumatoid arthritis after all, has made it a matter of question how much longer I can continue in the veterinary field. So I have to be on the lookout for other sources of income. We’ve already established that my original fiction doesn’t sell, but the more of it there is, the better my chances, right?
Anyway, I have some of the new versions of the characters sketched out, and I’m already in love with them. The whole thing is extremely exciting and engaging — more, in fact, than the original fanfiction version was, so that’s promising. I’ve had some unproductive weekends since making this decision, so I haven’t made a huge amount of progress in the transition so far, but I’m excited for next weekend when I will hopefully have my voice and brain back from this cold and be up to some real work.
Palette drawings — Over on Pillowfort, I posted some palettes and asked what I should draw in which colors. I also posted on Facebook, where I got no reasonable suggestions for, like, three weeks (long after I’d made up my mind); and I emailed the same thing to my family members, who all ignored it XD
On Pillowfort, anyway, I got some great suggestions. So I selected the seven I like best (I only had that many pieces of paper left), and got started. Here are the progress shots so far:
Hooray for productivity!