PL: FiFiF, TBoGaH, TSBTS, Little Miss, ML one-shot, HOH Aoshi & Soujirou, Experimental Utena

Fate is Found in Faeryland — I love the abbreviation for this story because it’s so appropriate for how seriously I’m taking the story. FiFiF. Heh. So obviously I started posting this, much earlier than was my plan, in order to provide something regularly updated to people in isolation, and I’ve been writing at it furiously ever since. It’s progressed remarkably well, and some people are reading it! I’ve even gotten some comments on it, which is delightful!! As expected, it’s not as silly as expected, but it’s had some funny bits, I think, and there are more to come. I’m really caught up in the gender business, despite the pronouns proving difficult (making sure I’ve got them all right, that is), but I don’t know if anyone else is interested in that aspect of the world.

Working Order

Castlevania fic | TSBTS | Rose Pale | TSBTS | Aku Soku Zan(za) | TSBTS | DCAU one-shot | TSBTS | Blood Contingency | TSBTS | Heretic’s Reward | Communication Skill | TSBTS | Haunted House | TSBTS | Aku Soku Zan(za) | TSBTS | Castlevania one-shot | TSBTS | Of The Same Opinion Still | TSBTS | Misc. Original | TSBTS | Aku Soku Zan(za) | TSBTS | Sofia the First one-shot | TSBTS | Sano and Kaoru’s Phone Log | TSBTS | Blood Contingency | Misc. one-shot | Heretic’s Reward | TSBTS | The Valley | TSBTS | Aku Soku Zan(za) | TSBTS | Little Miss | TSBTS | Ladybug one-shot | TSBTS | HoH Aoshi and Soujirou | TSBTS |

Originally I had planned for Kenshin to be Sano’s Guide and Tomoe at home pregnant. But I was frustrated at the lack of (at least canonically) female characters in the main cast, so I changed it. It’s that HR problem all over again: I’ve relegated several (canonically) female characters to a high, influential position that causes them to… not actually show up in the story. Like, we’ll meet Dorothy and Relena, but they’re not part of the main cast. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to insert Noin and Sally without messing things up (since this fic is plotted out specifically until nearly the end). There are just too many dudes around, and also the main cast is imbalanced between RK and GW.

As usual in an AU, I long for pictures of the characters as they exist here. I’m thinking of messing around with the WoW character creator and taking screenshots XD Actually I might do that right now instead of writing this post, except WoW is installed on an external hard drive that’s over on my desk, and I don’t want to get out of bed at the moment. And I really need to write this post.

TBoGaH — My mother is often unhappy, and the pandemic has made her even more so more frequently. Since, once again, art is the only thing I have to offer at a time like this, and since I’ve had so much opportunity to write lately as we isolated, I offered to write her a story to help cheer her. At first she was clearly uninterested in the idea, but accepted it, I think, solely to please me. Then she balked at the idea of receiving chapters serially, but I insisted because by ‘story’ I actually meant ‘novella or novel’ (and also because I wanted to give her something on a regular basis during the pandemic, not, like, two years later all at once). And ever since she read the first chapter, she has displayed a level of delighted enthusiasm and interest that is literally unprecedented in my life. She has never been so engaged in something I’ve written. So the cheering-up business is working as planned, and I’m absolutely overjoyed at her reaction: a gift for both of us!

I’m not posting it online, because once it’s finished, I’ll publish it. And since it will be quicker and less expensive to do the cover illustration myself than to have someone else draw it (e.g. sister, who would take a year and a half to do it, or a commissioned artist, who would want paying), I’ve been experimenting with the style I’d like to have it in (see below).

So this is a Regency romance. Romance, of course, is my favorite, but the setting is extremely different from my usual fare, as is the inclusion of zero queer content or fantasy elements. But for my mother specifically, setting out to write a gift novel means setting out to write what basically amounts to Jane Austen fanfiction without any Jane Austen canon. I’m not trying to imitate Austen’s style (have I ever lamented in detail the falling-off of complex sentence structure in modern literature?), but I am attempting to render my prose (which is generally casual) more fitting to the time period. And of course the dialogue is all old-school, and I find it’s a difficult balance to achieve between feeling accurate and not feeling totally stilted and pretentious.

And of course there’s historical accuracy, or at least verisimilitude, to maintain. I’ve read Austen enough millions of times to be fairly confident about a lot of things, but I still run into that same problem as ever with historic fiction: that I have to break away from writing every other sentence or so to look something up, so it takes forever and is kindof exhausting XD Lee is my consultant on this project, because she’s a Napoleonic expert, and has been incredibly helpful.

I’ve reread all Austen during isolation, and am working my way through the Aubrey/Maturin series again. In fact I just started over on Jane Austen, and finished Sense and Sensibility for the second time in a month last night XD And I’ve spent ridiculous amounts of time on various Jane Austen sites, and have practically lived on this one extensive list of British surnames. It’s been a trip, but I find I’m enjoying it far more than I expected.

As for the plot, it’s absolutely typical Austen-style stuff: balls, dinner parties, letters, sitting in the drawing-room and talking, no physical events of note except offpage. Despite how much I’ve complained about the checklist in the past, I really do enjoy writing conversation, so I’m actually kindof in my element here, heh. And it’s fun to focus so much on characterization, even if I do miss magic. Anyone must know how attached I get to my characters, and here I’m delighted with so many of them. Very entertaining for my own self!

At the request of each, I’ve been sending the chapters to all five members of my immediate family, but none of them besides mom has read any of it. I’ve also been sending it to Lee and grandma — the first because her opinion is invaluable (and she should be allowed to read what she’s been helping me with!), the second to fulfill the same purpose with which I started writing the thing in the first place. Grandma has been freaking out about it, so the experiment has been a success with her too XD

This story and FiFiF are neck and neck. I just finished the first file of each (something I’ve mentioned before as very satisfying), and they’re almost identical in wordcount. FiFiF has more chapters, though, because some of those have been very short. In between these two, I’ve been doing whatever is next in my working order, which brings me to the next part of this log…

TSBTS — Progressing steadily but slowly. I have been informed that such progress wins the race (what a bullshit fable/moral), so I don’t despair. If anyone had ever reacted to MLM the way mom’s been reacting to TBoGaH, or if I knew three people had read MLM with the surety I have about TBoGaH, I would probably find more electricity in myself to move quickly through this second book. But once again, I don’t despair! I still love my darling girl (and all my other darlings), and I will stand by her! She’s going to learn such important lessons about friendship and magic!

So remember how I said I wanted to get the MLM audiobook editing done during isolation? Yeah, I haven’t worked on that very much. The truth is that the last time I emailed the narrator to let him know I had more free time and lack of pain to work on it and should soon have it finished, he replied so rudely that I was really turned off the project. I kinda rage every time I work on it, because he sent me such a rough, rough draft claiming it was finished. He’s such a terrible narrator in the first place that all my lengthy editing only makes the thing borderline-acceptable anyway. That’s $1500 I’ll never get back, and I don’t know if it will ever really be done. I should have just read the thing myself. Maybe someday I will.

Ugh, that threatens to ruin my mood. No more on this.

Little Miss — This is the Another new book??? I mentioned in a previous PL: the one about the little girl and the magic school. I tend to add new projects to my working order at the beginning rather than the end, so I can work on them right away and get all the initial excitement out of my system before I have to wait a while to get back around to them. I’ve got this whole story plotted out, and some scenes in detail, and it’s just as delightful as previously. Still no title; the file is called “Little Miss and the College of Magics” since that was before I’d chosen a name for her. She has one now, as you will see.

There is no romance in this story, primarily because the main character is 9 years old. But she’s also aro/ace, which will come to light when she’s older if I write any other books about her. That is still a possibility, but I have no series title in mind either XD Anyway, a story about an aro/ace character (at least from me) has to have a big focus on friendship, and that’s definitely in this plan. She’s never had much in the way of friends before, and making them now at the College of Magics is a big deal for her. And when the momentous change occurs that drives much of the story, retaining or regaining the friends she’s made is a significant goal.

Obviously I’m into this. When I was unwisely purchasing commissioned art via credit card a month ago, I obtained three pictures for this particular story. Actually there’s a fourth I really want, and am tempted to buy, before I truly call that finished. But you can see the three that already exist:

This first one, by Monkan, ended up unnecessarily being a sort of character sheet instead of just the character picture I originally wanted, but that’s fine. I was just looking for something to stare at while thinking about the story, and it’s perfect for that! The dress is just something random I and the artist came up with, thematically appropriate but not something that will appear in the book.

I commissioned Fable (link NSFW) to draw this one because he draws a lot of hairy gay men and I thought this character would be right up his alley :D It’s a professor at the College and an important advisory figure to Imboye. Another person in that same role is the fourth picture I mentioned I’d like.

I wanted something of Imboye in the school uniform she’ll actually be wearing in the book, and since Lynndy Lee is my absolute favorite artist in the whole world right now (srsly I bought a print of one of their amazing mermaid pieces), I got them to do it (and help me design the scrollwork because I suck at that). Magically lighting a candle for the first time is a big moment for Imboye, so I chose that scene. Isn’t it freaking gorgeous??

As before, these lovely arts are for my own interest, not really for displaying to other people… but it’s a cheerful thing to post, so I did. BTW, Imboye’s hair is actually black; neither of the two shows that.

Miraculous Ladybug one-shot — Adding one-shots from various fandoms to my working order was a good idea. I’ve had the first three paragraphs of this, plus a one-paragraph summary of the general idea, sitting around forever; but now it’s received the New Treatment, and is entirely plotted out in detail. I let that be enough for this time, but when I come back around to it I may be able to write it in one sitting. This is so much better than the old way, in which stories usually didn’t get finished ever.

Even so, I’m so slow about these things that by the time I actually come out with something, a new season has usually arrived to Joss all my possibilities. That’s a big Whatever to me, because it’s just something you have to deal with in a fandom with an ongoing canon.

HoH Aoshi & Soujirou story — Guess who’s finally got a title!! This story will be called Forest of Death, which not only fits Aoshi’s dramatic propensities but is also symbolic in a couple of different ways ^__^ It will come as no surprise to anyone, with the way I’ve been working lately, that I made excellent progress in plotting this one out. The plotting is not entirely done yet, and I didn’t actually do any new writing this time around, but this counts as serious forward movement, since the lack of a more coherent structure was what’s been holding me back — and all it takes to re-rouse my excitement for a story is to know more precisely where I’m going with it.

I currently have no other HoH progress to report.

Experimental Utena — So you know how Jane Austen books tend to get published with random classical art on the cover? And you kinda squint at it and try to imagine whoever is pictured as the main character(s)? And the extremely generic feel has come to be a tradition, so you don’t even think twice about it anymore? Well, that’s not precisely what I want for my TBoGaH cover, but I do want a simple picture of my main character that will look nice but not be anything that really jumps out and makes you study it. In my head it’s a watercolory image, so I did an experimental Utena to play with a long-desired combination of watercolor pencil and actual watercolors.

Seriously, I’ve had these watercolors sitting around for over a year without touching them once. I think the combination works very well; I just need to figure out a lot of things about using them together. I very much enjoyed doing this piece, and I’ve started a few other experiments to further my research into the media.

There are a few things, of course, that I’m not pleased with in this picture, but they’re mostly live and learn type stuff. The biggest problem I have with it is one I’ve had with solo watercolor pencil in the past: that I can’t capture the colors correctly in a digital image. In this case, it’s a photograph, because the picture itself is too big to scan (at least at home), but I’ve had the same issue with scanned watercolor pencil pictures in the past. Layers of color just get lost, and saturation never works out. I just don’t know what to do about it. Another subject of experimentation, I suppose!

I think that’s all I have to say today. Back to work! (And by that I mean back to writing; I dread the upcoming day when I actually have to go back to work.)

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