smb814: (TOS Sheelos 3.)

FF.net irks me in so many ways. I wouldn't use it at all except, well, I kind of have to when it's the only place where a fandom tends to post its fan fiction. And one of those ways it irks me is in the inability to respond to readers who have disabled private messaging and don't give an email address that the author can use to reach them.

To that end, I'm going to post a brief message here in hopes that one day maybe the user who goes by the name Ehecatl on FF.net might stumbled upon it here and see it.

 **

Thank you.

That is, by far, one of the most humbling, amazing, encouraging reviews I've ever received on any story. I am floored. I toyed with the idea once of becoming a professional writer, and I still hope to get the novel I'm working on finished and published one day, but I don't write for the money or the recognition or to become the world's greatest writer. I write because I need to write, because it's a way for me to reshape and clarify my own views on certain issues in life.  Beyond that, though, I write because I see problems in the world and need a way to communicate them and attempt to address them and propose my vision of how things might be changed and improved. Since I'm not a speaker by nature, that's why I've resorted to using fiction as my vehicle. Everything that you pointed out in your review...that was exactly the message I was trying to convey in the Whatever Will Be series. I know not everyone will enjoy it (obviously, since the person who reviewed right before you couldn't even finish reading the final story and was extremely harsh with it and with the view I portrayed in it of love), and everyone has the right to their own opinion, but to know that at least one person has taken that message away with them, that the story has touched them in the way I hoped it would, that it rang true for them...I am delighted. Thanks to your review, I know the story was a success and that the years I spent working on it weren't wasted.

If you ever do see this, please, please email me (my address is listed on FF.net), because I have plenty more I'd like to say in response to it and to discuss further with you about it.  But the bottom line is, thank you, not just for taking the time to read this story, but to write such an incredible, heartening review.

 **

To everyone else on my f-list reading this...hi! *waves* No, I haven't vanished off the face of the earth. I've just been extremely focused the past how many months on finishing up that Tales of Symphonia series I had been working on before grad school starts for me in, oh, a little over a week. It's finally finished now, so hopefully I'll be around a little more regularly again. Look for a complete update soon. And hopefully now, in whatever spare time I have around doing lots and lots of homework for school, I can get back to working on the non-Stargate version of Frozen Flame! *hears crickets chirping* ...Anyone here still remember that story? Anyone at all?

Oh, and in case anyone here is interested in reading the series I just finished writing, it's either on FF.net, or on the web site I created for it at: http://smb814.shahrazad.net/WWB/index.html. At some point I may post it here on my LJ, too, but I haven't had time yet to do so, so we'll see.

I know not everyone on my f-list knows anything about Tales of Symphonia or the characters of Zelos or Sheena, and obviously not every reader enjoyed the direction I went with it since, after only one day, it had already received a review trashing it, but I was extremely happy with the end result. In fact, it's up there with Frozen Flame as being my favorite story I've ever written. Just so you guys know I haven't been completely neglecting Frozen Flame the past three years for no reason. :)

But for now I'm off to take care of a few other pressing things. I hope everyone on my f-list is doing well!

She Lives!

Apr. 13th, 2010 04:03 pm
smb814: (Chuck Chuck/Sarah Smile)
First things first...

YES, I AM STILL ALIVE, AND YES I AM STILL DWELLING IN LJ-LAND.

Sorry about the bold capslock, but, well, after a particular near-defriending instance last week because of my lack of living-ness, I thought it might be appropriate to emphasize that. :)

So anyway...hi, everyone! To everyone new on my f-list (or who hasn't actually seen me post anything since they friended me)...er, sorry about my lack of posts. I work fulltime at a university and am usually far too tired when I get home at night to write coherent LJ posts and, well, basically do anything except mindlessly browsing the internet and playing an occasional video game. Weekends aren't much better, since I have to share the internet with my family and catch up on everything else that I didn't get done during the rest of the week. So that leaves the bits and pieces of downtime that I have at work to actually post something...and, well, let's just say this semester has been THE busiest one I've ever seen. Seriously, I don't know why it was as crazy as it was (maybe it was the fact that the chair position of one of the programs I work for split into two, with two new people covering it, both of whom are highly strung at times?), but it was, and it took until last week before I finally caught up with all the major stuff on my plate. Hence why I can finally post here again. :)

So, since it has been so many months, I'm going to resort to the number list again in my efforts to cover everything.

This is way too long so I'm cutting it to save your f-list from being completely overwhelmed. This cut covers Work and Vacation. )

Current writing status/progress/miscellaneous info be here. )

Video game talk be beneath here -- includes mentions of Tales of Vesperia, various other Tales games, Tales of Symphonia: Tethe'alla OVA, the Phoenix Wright saga, Brave Story, and one or two others. )

A brief update on my Japanese studying progress, and some TV talk! )

Chuck )

Lost )

Supernatural )

Stargate Universe )

A few other TV shows, like NCIS, Leverage, The Office... )

And a few other miscellaneous life things. )

...And I think that covers the main things from the past few months. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll be able to post more regularly again, but that depends entirely on how busy work is these next few weeks. And how distracted I get by writing and by working my way through more video games on my *gulp* 170+ video game backlog.

Take care, everyone, and I hope everyone on my f-list is doing well! :D
smb814: (KH2 Mickey Wave)
Happy New Year to everyone! Personally, I'm one of those people who was eagerly awaiting the end of 2009, which was one of the most rotten years I can remember all the way around, so today couldn't come fast enough. Here's hoping this will be a better year for everyone!

Nothing really major going on, just briefly updating since it's been about a month since I last did. So, here we go.

1. Work. I still have a job, thank goodness. The university is still having major financial problems, so it's possible they'll have to go around later and do another round of job cuts, but at least for now, I'm still employed. Of course, considering how busy I was the last few weeks at work (seriously, I can't believe how ridiculously busy I was), I'm not sure how they could cut my position, but, well, that depends on who's making the cuts and how my job looks on paper. So we'll see. I do have to admit to really, really liking having off of work all this week, even if I've been So. Very. Busy. the entire time.

2. Writing. The sequel to "Mental Holiday" is written. Yay! Now I'm just finishing up some massive revisions to it and will hopefully be posting it within the next week or two. Assuming I can decide on a title for it, of course; I hate being torn between two different titles. And then I'll tackle the next story in the series, and then the next (and then the next, and the next, etc.), and once that series is done, I will FINALLY get back to work on Frozen Flame! I will, and you guys can hold me to that!

3. Video games. For the record, Tales of Vesperia is awesome. And incredibly fun. All of the Tales games are. I just wish I had more time to play it right now. I'm also hoping to set up the Wii so my family can play some Toy Story Mania before the end of the weekend. And I'm trying to decide which PSP or Nintendo DS game to play next...ugh, too many options. Anyone have any recommendations for a graphic adventure game (Hotel Dusk, Lux Pain, Theresia, etc.) or an RPG (Dragon Quest IV/V, The World Ends With You, Final Fantasy: Crisis Core, Kingdom Hearts 358/2, Tales of Phantasia/Eternia, etc.) I should try next? My options definitely aren't limited to just those.

4. TV. CHUCK STARTS SOON!!! Ahem, sorry about that, but that's definitely the one I'm looking forward to most right now, especially after how last season ended. Chuck 2.0! Supernatural, Lost, and NCIS will be back soon, too! I'm also quite enjoying Sanctuary, and Leverage is great fun, too. Oh, and I'm hooked on The Office, because Jim/Pam is one of the most awesome pairings I've ever seen...anyone else on my f-list watch that one? Castle is next on my list of shows to watch, but I think I'll wait to get started with that one during the summer. With all the other TV on this spring, I just don't have time to watch everything.

5. Japanese. Wow, talk about a confusing language at times. But my progress is still, while slow, also steady, and I keep reading and studying in bits and pieces, and I'm creating kanji and vocab flash cards on Anki, and listening to Japanese music has made a world of difference in my ability to hear the language spoken. How's it coming for you, [livejournal.com profile] lifelongfling? :)

6. I'm...not sure about a 6 right now. I'm sure there's more I could ramble about, but it's time for breakfast and I really want to eat.

Oh, and major (((hugs))) to everyone on my f-list for their kind words on my last post. After a month, my mom seems to be doing all right with the whole thing -- not great, but all right. All we can do is take lessons out of it and try to keep ourselves as healthy as possible.

I'm making it a resolution to update my LJ more often this year, so hopefully there won't be more of those 6-month hiatus gaps. I hope everyone has a great New Years! :)
smb814: (TOS Sheelos Sky)
And now I'm going to collapse from utter exhaustion.

...Oh, wait. I should clarify because that subject line probably won't be interpreted correctly. "Frozen Flame" isn't finished. Alas. *insert heavy sigh here* I haven't even touched it in, like, a year. I tried picking it up a few weeks ago to get back to work finishing up my first major revision of it, but then I had to put it down again because I didn't have a grasp anymore of what was going on at that particular point in time in the characters' heads -- and effectively revising it without understanding what my characters were thinking would be, well, pretty much impossible. I'm going to have to reread a significant portion of it before I'll be able to do that...and that won't happen for awhile yet, because I've had to conclude that I can only work on one serious writing project at time.

The 'It's Done' refers to my current writing project -- that Tales of Symphonia series I'm working on that follows on to "Mental Holiday." And really, I suppose even that's deceptive since it's not done done. I've just finally finished my first major go-through of it. It's entirely plotted -- and in some cases even (mostly) written. And since I've been working on this go-through of it religiously since last March, I think I have the right to be excited about finishing this phase of it up, thankyouverymuch.

So here are the details for the handful of people on my f-list who might actually be interested in it. It's called the "Whatever Will Be" series (which from this point on I'll be referring to as WWB). It's seven stories long, including "Mental Holiday." Each of the stories is, to some degree, longer than "Mental Holiday" was -- with some, like #7 in the series, ridiculously (i.e. 200,000+ words...ugh) so. (Seriously, will I ever learn to write anything short?!) I have a sneaking suspicion the whole thing is utterly boring, because it doesn't seem to me like anything is really happening in it, the plots are only minimally interesting, and the non-Zelos/Sheena TOS characters only appear in two or three of the stories, but eh, writing it has been oodles of fun and has made me happy, not just to be writing happy people and situations for a change (as opposed to the 'just-kill-me-now' angst of something like "No Regrets" or "Frozen Flame") but to be writing again, period, so there you go. I wrote this monstrosity first and foremost for me (just like "Mental Holiday" was, to try to get Zelos to shut up and get out of my head, loudmouth that he is), and so if anyone else happens to read it and like it, that's just the icing on the cake. It's absolutely awful right now, because, well, it's either plotting notes or a rough draft, and it still needs a ton of work before it will be readable, but I'm just thrilled to be at this point with it. So hurrah for me!

And a brief rundown on the series:

1. Mental Holiday
2. Trust Building 101 (working title)
3. Angel Out of Heaven (working title)
4. Point of No Return (working title) -- I may be changing it to "Crossing the Line" but I haven't officially decided that yet.
5. The Experiment (working title)
6. Guardian Knight -- a.k.a. "Guardian Angel Knight (...In Shining Armor)"...thank you for being unable to do anything the easy way, Zelos *rolls eyes*
7. Worth It

#2, #3, & #4 are plotted in detail. #5 & #6 are plotted in extreme detail, and it shouldn't take too much work to convert them into a rough draft. #7 is a complete rough draft, albeit in the wrong tense (present instead of past). So my next task is to get busy converting my plotting notes for #s 2, 3, & 4 into actual, readable writing.

One thing about the whole writing process that I found to be especially interesting this time around is that I'm no longer handwriting everything first and then typing it up -- I'm actually typing it directly into the computer, which has saved me a ton of time. I've also once again proven that, as bizarre as it may seem, I actually need to write the ending before I go back and write the rest of the story. I can't explain why, but I did it for "Frozen Flame" and now I've done it for this series. I write the ending, then I write everything else leading up to the ending, and then I rewrite the ending.

Do any of you other fic writers on my f-list do this? It just seems to help me stay focused while writing and, you know, actually get the story done by giving me a goal to strive toward -- because every other story I've started writing the past few years (like the "No Regrets" trilogy) has fallen apart when I don't have the ending in mind. I guess I just want to know where I'm going before I write the journey to get there, so I can make sure I incorporate things into the earlier chapters/stories that lead up to the ending, and then, once I get back to that final point, I have to rewrite it completely to incorporate all the unexpected stuff that happened during the "journey" itself. I feel like I'm writing half backwards, half forwards. It's weird. But hey, it seems to be working for me, so I guess I can't complain too much.

And I've had to deem my writing process to be...strange...now. My first writing go-through of a story is now plotting notes -- and plotting notes, for me, involve a rough sketch of the entire story, with complete dialogue and a spattering of introspective thoughts and details surrounding the conversations. My first time through I leave off all quotation marks in dialogue, I often identify the speakers by things like (Z) and (S) instead of including things like "he/she says," a good number of the descriptions around the conversations are incomplete sentences and/or simple phrases tacked together, and it's all written in present tense. It's...weird. I then go back through once it's finished and add in all the missing punctuation, and once I actually sit down and write the darn thing, I'll add the "he/she said," complete the sentences, change the verb tenses to past tense, and flesh everything out a little better. After that, I'll really scrutinize and revise everything.

I don't get it, why I'm suddenly writing like this (maybe I find it faster to leave out all the unnecessary stuff and just focus on the dialogue at first?), but I started the 'plotting notes' thing about halfway through my non-Stargate version of "Frozen Flame" and it's evolved into this, and, surprisingly enough, it seems to be working pretty well for me. I guess every writer is different, eh? Although it does make me wonder about other fic writers' writing processes. Anyone care to share their own personal writing process? Does anyone else write even remotely like this? Or am I just that weird?

Anyway, that's where I'm at with it. I would get started actually writing #2 in the series right now already, only I'm heading down to Florida starting next week Thursday on our annual family vacation and so I need to get a hundred-plus other things finished before we leave. I'll hopefully get started working on it when I get back in town on October 25th.

Let's see...any other news since it's been so long since I last updated? The Stargate convention in Chicago was a blast (as always!), the guests were great (yay for Joe Flanigan actually making it here this time!), it was awesome to see everyone again *hugs everyone*, and I was utterly thrilled to learn there that [livejournal.com profile] lifelongfling is also interested in going to Japan in a few years! Amanda, you'd better be getting back into studying Japanese! :D

The past few months I've also gone crazy delving in the Wonderful World of Japanese Pop Music. Seriously, some of this stuff is awesome and puts the US's typical musical offerings to shame. And it's a great way to enforce some of the Japanese vocabulary I've been slowly picking up. I love KOKIA's music. And Ayako Ikeda. And YUI. And Miz/Mizrock. And Tsukiko Amano. And Kelun. And MiChi. And Kimeru. And Mami Kawada. And Chihiro Onitsuka. And Maiko Fujita. And while I'm not a fan of Ayumi Hamasaki's voice, her music is awesome. I'm hit or miss on Utada Hikaru, BoA, Kotoko, and Hitomi, but I like more of their stuff than I don't. I'm still working my way through music and finding new artists that I love every day, so I'm sure I will eventually add more to that list, but at the moment, they're my favorites. And if anyone happens to have any recommendations of artists/groups to check out, I'm all ears!

As for TV...Supernatural is awesome, but most people on my f-list already know that, so I'll leave it to them to expound on its wonders. NCIS is also off to a great start this year -- but then, I actually like the Tony/Ziva dynamic (romantic or friend, doesn't matter to me) so the first two eps were especially wonderful. I'm giving NCIS-LA a try, and while it's good and I'm enjoying it so far and I can't help thinking it holds a lot of potential, it's no NCIS yet for me. If I had more time, I'd be watching Flashforward, but it'll just have to wait until I have time. Same with Castle and Leverage -- I still need to get caught up on the first seasons of each before I can start watching the second seasons. I DVR'd Stargate Universe last week but haven't watched it yet because I was so intent on finishing writing up WWB that I had to delay it. Season 2 of Sanctuary starts up this Friday, and I haven't decided if I'm going to watch it now or wait until later with it, but I will be watching it at some point.

And that's that. I'm going to try to update more regularly, for those folks on my f-list who actually *may* be interested in my progress on the WWB series, so hopefully I'll be around a little more often once I get back from Florida. I hope everyone on my f-list is doing well! :D
smb814: (TOS Lloyd Zelos Land)
Wow, seven months since my last update? Um...whoops?

I do have an excuse, though: life's been a tad crazy lately. Well, a little more than a 'tad.' More like a huge, honkin', Pacific Ocean-sized crazy. Yes, it's been that nuts.

To that end, I'm reverting to a numbered list because that seemed to work well the last time.

Cut for excessive length. )

And I think that covers the basics of what I've been up to. Hopefully pretty soon I'll be able to start catching up with all the other things I haven't been able to do lately, like email and reading fic and playing games and all that other fun stuff.

(Oh, and bonus points to anyone who can identify where the quote in my icon came from. *g*)

For now, though, I have to run -- almost time to go home! Maybe now I'll be able to post a little more regularly again. I hope everyone on my flist is doing well!
smb814: (Animal Owl)
So we had our university-wide luncheon today, only they served alcohol and then still expected everyone to go back to work? Granted, I didn't actually drink any alcohol, but still, what gives? Do they really think I -- or anyone else, for that matter -- feel like working after all of that?

Needless to say, no, I don't feel like doing anything work-related, so I'm probably not going to. So there. Hence why I'm filling out Stargate quizzes. :)

Which Stargate character are you?
Your Result: Dr. Daniel Jackson
 

You are Daniel. Though no one bilieved you or in you, you have proven yourself right and worthy. You are facinated by new cultures, the study of ancient texts and have a very complex and dramatic lovelife you are intelligent, not very athletic, feel compassion for all life and are not a fan of the chain of command.

Richard Woolsey
 
Dr. Samantha Carter
 
Dr. Rodney McKay
 
Teyla Emmagan
 
Teal'c
 
Jack O'Neill
 
John Sheppard / Cameron Mitchel
 
Which Stargate character are you?
Make Your Own Quiz


Gee, what a shocker. Although if I were the quiz maker, I would have proofread my results a bit better before actually publishing it for everyone.

Anyway, seeing as I don't feel like doing anything else, I guess I'm long overdue for an update, eh? Here goes, in very random fashion. Cut because this post is insanely long and I don't want to overwhelm anyone's friend list. Includes talk about life, work, Disney World, video games, various TV shows and DVDs, MP3 players, Japan and the Japanese language, Frozen Flame, and even a few Stargate fic recs. )

...And I think I've finally exhausted my updates for the past few months. I'm sure I'll think of something else I missed, but for now that's it.

If I don't post before leaving for Florida next week, have a great holiday season, everyone!

August 2012

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