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!

smb814: (TOS Sheelos 5.)
(This fic can also be found on FF.net here or on AO3 here.

Title: Trust Building 101
Author: SMB814
Rating: Mostly T, but some readers may consider it to be a strong T.
Warnings: Zelos being Zelos -- i.e., adult themes, mild language, innuendo, frank discussions about sex, etc.
Category: Romance/Fluff (Sheelos - if you don't like it, don't read it), Drama, Angst, Character study
Spoilers: Spoilers for the game and for Mental Holiday.
Time Frame: Part 2 of the Whatever Will Be series and a direct sequel to Mental Holiday, the first story in the series. If you haven't read that story, then go do that first or you won't understand the place where these two are currently at. You can find it here.
Summary: The good news? The woman Zelos was in love with loved him back. The bad news? She had six years' worth of reasons not to trust a word he said.
Disclaimer: Alas, Tales of Symphonia and its lovely characters don't belong to me. They belong to Namco-Bandai Games. I'm just borrowing them and not making any money off them, and I promise I'll return them unharmed (and probably happier than they ever were before) when I'm done playing with them.
Feedback: Feedback is love and fodder for future fics.
History: General plotting began December 2008; completed January 2010.

Trust Building 101 (1/7) )

smb814: (TOS Sheelos Sky)
(This fic can also be found on FF.net here or on AO3 here.

Title: Trust Building 101
Author: SMB814
Rating: Mostly T, but some readers may consider it to be a strong T.
Warnings: Zelos being Zelos -- i.e., adult themes, mild language, innuendo, frank discussions about sex, etc.
Category: Romance/Fluff (Sheelos - if you don't like it, don't read it), Drama, Angst, Character study
Spoilers: Spoilers for the game and for Mental Holiday.
Time Frame: Part 2 of the Whatever Will Be series and a direct sequel to Mental Holiday, the first story in the series. If you haven't read that story, then go do that first or you won't understand the place where these two are currently at. You can find it here.
Summary: The good news? The woman Zelos was in love with loved him back. The bad news? She had six years' worth of reasons not to trust a word he said.
Disclaimer: Alas, Tales of Symphonia and its lovely characters don't belong to me. They belong to Namco-Bandai Games. I'm just borrowing them and not making any money off them, and I promise I'll return them unharmed (and probably happier than they ever were before) when I'm done playing with them.
Feedback: Feedback is love and fodder for future fics.
History: General plotting began December 2008; completed January 2010.

Trust Building 101 (1/7) )

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 Zelos Wall.)
Mental Holiday (3/5) )

August 2012

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