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I'm looking for brainstorming and revision help with some Weiss Kreuz fics for [community profile] weissvsaiyuki. I'm not sure how much canon knowledge is necessary for any of these. They're all Schwarz-centric, so there's less canon to work with (I don't even try to be consistent with the drama CDs and manga, just the anime).

One is either T or M rated and complete, but I think the ending is weak and possibly too rapid. I'd like a second opinion on it. The story is dark. I'm trying to end with a glimmer of hope, but that's one of the things I'm not sure even vaguely works.

The second is somewhere between one third and three quarters done. I'm at a point where I have to make a story decision and can't get myself to because none of the options quite work for me. I'm pretty sure I'm missing something. I'm not sure where to put the rating on this one-- Probably T for now with the possibility of it going upward depending on where it goes from here. Right now, it's gen (but could be read as Crawford and Schuldig being involved off screen. Or not), and I'm not planning to change that, but...

The third is E rated and potentially squicky due to noncon. I think it's half done. At about 2000 words in (out of about 3400 currently), it took a sudden left turn from PWP into character development that I think is not consistent with the first part of the story. I'm just too close to the story to be able to tell for sure, and I want a second opinion on that and on whether I should axe the character development to go back to the PWP or rewrite the first part to support the character development.
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I used a half tablet of Halcion last night and don't feel hungover/groggy today. I'm not sure that it helped me sleep, though, so it may be a tradeoff. I'll try a whole tablet tonight and see how that goes given that I should be able to sleep myself out tomorrow. The whole tablet Thursday night did help me sleep, so I'd like to know if the fatigue on Friday was from the Halcion or just from it being the end of a trying week with less sleep than I actually need.

Scott and I are poking at Steam to see if there are games there that Cordelia might like (and be willing to have us know that she's playing). He's used Steam for a while, and I never have. I'm frustrated because I can't get the searching interface to do what I think it ought to, because I can't make it cough up a complete list of searchable tags or categories. I'm also not seeing any sort of label that indicates a target age range or levels of gore, sex, profanity, etc. Cordelia says she doesn't want any of those things, so sorting in a way to eliminate them would be beyond helpful.

I don't think this entirely me because Scott was having trouble with it last night. It may just be that neither of us know the code words that would tell us what's what. He mostly does combat stuff, board/card games, and the like. Things Cordelia's decidedly not interested in.

Scott and I are thinking that Cordelia might like something in the vein of a visual novel. Assuming we can find one that has a female protagonist, no graphic sex or violence or horror elements, and isn't romance/dating focused. Cordelia has informed me that she's not interested in hidden object games (I tried to sell her on the Dark Parables series which I enjoyed and which otherwise fit what she seems to want-- no time pressure, no risk of losing due to making a mistake, no reflex tests or need for eye-hand coordination, no gore, no explicit sex, no swearing, etc.)

I'm not sure whether Cordelia's really not interested in having any romance or just isn't interested in us knowing that she is.

Scott is trying desperately to get his payment information changed in a dozen different places where he'd pay monthly bills via Discover (his card number was used for Lyft several times last Saturday while he was at work so new number). Verizon has locked him out because he couldn't answer a security question that he's absolutely and utterly certain that he wouldn't have chosen because it's something that he doesn't have an accurate answer for (What was his first school). I think he got Netflix and Hulu updated. Discover very kindly sent him a list of places he's been making regular payments to. Verizon's just being unpleasant.

We were a bit freaked when the new card arrived because the front was blank apart from the Discover name and logo. They're now printing the number and name and expiration on the back and not bothering with raised type. We were sure, at first, that they'd just sent a completely blank card. Why on earth put the information on the back? I can't imagine that's actually more secure since turning the card over is beyond easy.
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I'm looking for suggestions for story idea generators that might appeal to Cordelia. She says she wants to write but has no ideas. Anything I suggest is, naturally, too parentally tainted to be interesting, so I thought maybe some of those generators that slap ridiculous ideas together might help.

I don't play with them much, so I have no idea what's out there or how to find them.
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I have signed up for Camp NaNo. I haven’t done anything with regard to cabins at this point, and I may not. I don’t know. My goal is 25000 words which will definitely include finishing my current exchange fic. I’m not sure what else I’ll end up working on.

Talking about possible stories for WIP Big Bang )

I’m also considering Night on Fic Mountain which is a small fandom fic exchange. My main hesitation is that I’m not particularly enthusiastic about writing anything in the current tag set except the things I nominated.
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Anyone know how to save as plain text from either Pages (5.6.2) or TextEdit (1.11)? There’s no obvious way to do it from the menus, and searching help topics hasn’t turned anything up, either. Google is my next stop, but I thought I’d ask in case someone here knows off the top of their head.

I know there’s a more recent version of Pages, but it requires an OS upgrade that my laptop can’t support.
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An AO3 fic tagging question— How is it best to tag for something squicky that looks like it might happen in a fic but doesn’t? I know that this, a potential forced pregnancy, is a deal breaker for some readers in a rather nasty way. I hesitate to tag it straight up because it doesn’t actually happen. It goes beyond being referenced, though, because the POV character seriously considers it (she can shapeshift, so she can be coerced only up to a point on that subject) and isn’t happy about it.
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I actually did a little writing last night. I think it was only about 150 words, but it broke through the block I had on that story.

I had trouble falling asleep last night. I think it took me two or three hours. I also woke every two or three hours, needing to visit the bathroom.

I gave away two boxes of mint tea to our cleaning lady yesterday. I still have two boxes of other types of mint tea that nobody’s going to use. I need to weed out the other teas that nobody’s going to use. There’s a ginger tea Scott bought that’s just plain nasty to me. I don’t know if anyone else would like it, but there’s a lot of it. Stash’s decaf chocolate hazelnut tea isn’t worth keeping, either. If it was caffeinated, I probably would, but it’s got all of the black tea flavor I don’t like without caffeine.

Scott tells me that, as of yesterday, work wasn’t planning to run anything this weekend. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that that’s true because it would be really nice to have him home all weekend.

Cordelia says she wants to dye her hair. She has long, dark brown hair, so I’m not sure how feasible it will be without destroying her hair. She first said that she wanted rainbow colors in the lower half of her hair. Then she said maybe purple instead. Anybody have any suggestions?
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Hm. Zoloft at night or Zoloft in the morning? The doctor told me that there was about an equal chance that the medication would make me sleepy or would make me unable to sleep.

I’m kind of leaning toward morning just because being sleepy in the morning would be less terrible for me than being sleepless tonight. On the other hand, Paxil made me fall asleep every time I stopped moving for more than a few seconds. I don’t remember how I reacted to Celexa (it’s been twenty years). Prozac didn’t make me sleepy or sleepless, just gave me constant tremors.

Anyone else taken Zoloft?
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Are chapter titles and/or chapter summaries things that people pay attention to? I don’t, but I am decidedly not everyone, so I thought I’d ask. If I did do chapter titles, they’d pretty definitely be descriptive rather than actual, proper titles. Basically 'In which thus and so happens.'

Of course, I kind of associate the 'In which thus and so happens' titles with, of all things, Winnie-the-Pooh.

I’m kind of cat waxing just now because I need to stay up another forty five minutes to an hour and am kind of falling asleep. I’m not focused enough to write or to do anything else productive that requires mental focus (I did gather up the trash so that I can take it out tomorrow. I suppose I could kill three minutes by putting dishes into the dishwasher, but I normally do that while my tea steeps in the morning).

I don’t know… Maybe I’ll just play Fluid Monkey on my phone for a while. Coming up with chapter titles for all of my chaptered WIP seems excessive. Maybe just for Rheotaxis.
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I have decided that I’m just going to end this Amber AU with the vague possibility of impending change and let everything I’ve written after that point be sequel material.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to tag this and what to mention in notes. Mandor’s in one chapter, 1300 words out of 33000. I didn’t tag for him. Should I? How do I tag for the fact that my first person narrator monologues (introspection) a lot? Right now, I just mention it in an author’s note. Do I need to warn people that Merlin has kids if they never appear in the text but are a plot point?

Right now, my tags are: Revenge, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Shapeshifting, Alternate Universe - Dark, Angst, Ambiguous/Open Ending, POV First Person, and Captivity. I’m warning for rape/non-con. I wanted to tag for dark!Merlin, but that autofilled, and I’m 100% sure that the other stories with that tag are referring to a different character and canon. I’m not sure I want this fic lumped in with those, but I feel like that might be information a potential reader might want. Author’s note or use the tag anyway?

There’s an offscreen death of a canonical character who doesn’t actually appear in the story. Does that need a warning? I’m not sure it should go to archive warning level, but maybe another author’s note? If I use the archive warning, I think people might assume that one of the characters who appears in the story will die.

But my author’s note is really very long already. Will anybody actually read it?

I’ve got everything in a draft on AO3. Twelve chapters. I need to check the FAQ for Iddy Iddy Bang Bang to see if there’s a prohibition on posting early or when exactly I’m supposed to post.
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I have two writing dilemmas. The first, I think I just need to sleep on because making decisions is beyond what I can do right this second. That’s about the pinch hit I signed up for. I had settled on a story idea and started research, but now the moderators tell me that someone else has offered for it. I had told them that my canon knowledge was not all that firm, and they’re giving me the option to keep the pinch hit or to pass it on. I’m torn because I have a story in my head now, not in detail but still there. If I don’t write it for this, I probably won’t write it at all. On the other hand, maybe I should pass the thing on to someone else who has a better grasp of canon. Would that be better for the recipient?

The second has to do with figuring out how to extricate myself from my Iddy Iddy Bang Bang story. The problem there is that I never had any sort of end/goal/direction in mind. I probably could keep writing forever with the characters having the sorts of conversations that I enjoy writing (and reading) but that will make most readers want to throw rocks at them to make them shut up and *do* something. There’re also some issues of consistency in characterization that I have no idea how to fix in the time I’ve got. I didn’t bother being too picky about it as I wrote because, well, this is the idfic equivalent of… I’m not sure what, actually. I was going to say an infodump, but that’s not it at all. But I just came out with whatever occurred to me in the moment. When a story’s only in my head, that doesn’t matter.

At any rate, I think that the central character question of the story is, ah, tangential to most of what I’ve written. There’s a good bit of porn, and it doesn’t actually connect very strongly to the decisions my POV character needs to make. It’s just there because I had fun writing it.

Babbling about an Amber AU fic. Darkish with non-specific references to bad things happening. A lot of noodling about characterization decisions. )
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Black tea and two candy bars helped considerably yesterday afternoon so that I was able to cook dinner and do all of the other things I needed to get done. I’m pretty sure it was the candy bars more than the tea unfortunately. We don’t keep anything like that in the house. That’s deliberate on my part because I don’t want to be tempted by such things. I’m just not at all sure what to do about the times when I really, really need something of the sort. Yesterday, Scott was stopping on his way home anyway, but I don’t necessarily droop like that at convenient times.

I think I have to manage to plan ahead better in the future so that I don’t end up with a day like yesterday where there are several chores that have to be dealt with. Dishes and making a sandwich for Scott come up every day. Adding laundry, trash, showering, and cooking (twice!) to that was way, way too much.

I cooked a chicken in the pressure cooker. Scott tried to tell me that the weight of the chicken didn’t affect cooking time, and I didn’t believe him, so I researched it and found several places recommending six minutes per pound with an additional two minutes or so just to be sure. Everybody really thought that browning the chicken first was important, but I skipped that step anyway. Even if we were going to eat the skin, I don’t have the resources to do something like that when I’m feeling 100%. Most recipes called for a cup of water. A couple of them suggested stuffing half a lemon inside the chicken. I wasn’t going to do that or whole garlic cloves or rub the chicken with salt and/or herbs, but I did use half a cup of lemon juice with half a cup of water for the liquid. I didn’t taste any difference, so I probably won’t do that again.

I’m trying to convince myself not to offer on a pinch hit for an exchange with a deadline at the end of September. I don’t know the fandoms dreadfully well, and the potential recipient doesn’t seem to have a letter or any other source of additional details (I also didn’t see any DNWs listed which would worry me), but the requests as given are things I absolutely could write, even playing to my strengths, and the fandoms are things where some level of fannish osmosis might work.

I keep hoping someone else will step up for the pinch hit (then I could write a treat. Or not), but it’s been going begging since the 14th, so I don’t know… Somebody with moderate canon knowledge might be better than no one at all. Committing to something with both a deadline and a recipient is scary, but it’s something I’m going to want to do eventually. Might it not be better to start with something where I’ve seen the prompts/requests before committing myself?

I’m having trouble finding enthusiasm for the prospect of doing Yuletide this year, and that makes me sad. I think I’m looking at things like nominating as chores. I don’t know if I’d look at writing for it that way or not. If I did, it would be a rotten thing to do to myself (and likely rotten for my recipient, too). But maybe I wouldn’t feel like that when it came time to write? I always nominate from the angle of what I want to request because I have a hard time finding things other people have nominated that appeal to me as a recipient (I always have lots of things I feel I can offer with enthusiasm). Right now, I don’t actually want anything because that’s too much effort. The best I can muster is, "Eh. I wouldn’t object to that."
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Anybody got any pointers for what to do when one’s tired and foggy and everything one’s been working on suddenly looks utterly terrible and/or pretentious and/or dull?
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I slept reasonably well last night. I had some trouble getting back to sleep after Scott got up, but I did manage it eventually, and I didn’t get up until 10:00. I meant to go to bed early, but somehow, once I got to 8:00, I wasn’t actually sleepy any more. I headed for bed around 11:00 and had just gotten into bed when the phone rang. Scott hadn’t put the bedroom phone back after the whole putting the phones in the refrigerator on Saturday night, so I had to stumble to the living room and find a phone there. It was his work calling to say they wouldn’t need him at 3:00 after all. Which was what I figured it had to be.

I woke with a headache, but coffee helped. I rather suspect that it was the sugar in the creamer rather than the caffeine. I didn’t end up taking anything else for it.

Cordelia ended up with two friends over to watch Attack of the Clones yesterday. They didn’t finish the movie before the other two needed to go home, but I don’t think they cared. The friend who won’t let them talk over movies wasn’t there, so they talked a lot, some making fun of the movie and some just talking. Cordelia made me leave the living room so that they could watch. I suppose that, with me in another room, they could pretend that I couldn’t hear them.

I’m going to have to do two loads of laundry today. If I have energy for it, I may try to work on the books in the basement again. I haven’t touched them since mid-June, and there are bits I can manage in five minute increments. I’ll have to go down there three times to deal with laundry. If I can do five minutes of books each time, that will add up.

I spent a good bit of time yesterday writing and expect to do the same today. I’m working in little scraps, creating things that may not actually ever fit together.

I’m a little… I’m not even sure what I am, but it’s Yuletide nomination time in another few weeks. I don’t know if I’m going to participate this year or not. Unlike last year, I probably could this year. I’m just not sure that I want to. I’ve been busily writing fragments of a lot of things that I might, in theory, be able to finish and that I will almost certainly abandon if I do Yuletide. I also… I don’t think that darkfic is appropriate for Yuletide unless it’s specifically requested, and that seems to be the direction I’m still going right now. But Yuletide gets me to write things I’d never have tried otherwise, and I really love that.

I suppose that nominating doesn’t commit me to anything.

I’m tempted to do a poll asking what I should write next, but I don’t think I’d actually follow the results, so it would mainly be an exercise in seeing if anybody cares about what I’m working on. And six of the things I’m thinking about are very definitely novel length or longer.

Here’s a question I’d like opinions on— In terms of works in progress where I have multiple chapters that I’m fairly certain are solid and not going to change, should I post those chapters? I haven’t been willing to do that since I realized that I was stalling out on Rheotaxis, and I can’t promise that I won’t stall out on these, too. In fact, it’s pretty likely. I think I’m mainly tempted because I want to talk to people about these worlds in my head, and I’m not certain that posting to AO3 would give me conversation.
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Anyone know, realistically, how hard it would be to get from a hotel near O’Hare to various touristy things in Chicago? I’ve found a hotel near O’Hare that’s within our price range, highly rated, and that has all of the things we were looking for. I think we can deal with airport noise if we need to, given everything else.

Google says that, right now, driving from there to each of the four destinations I suggested would be in the forty to fifty minutes range and that mass transit would be about an hour and ten minutes. I have no idea how weekday traffic would change the driving estimates or if there are more options for mass transit on weekdays (I know that there are more buses around here during the week, but I don’t know if that applies in places with better mass transit).

I was extremely surprised that all four destinations came out so close in terms of trip time. That seems unlikely. I’m also really wary— Google’s trip planner is extremely unreliable when it comes to getting around the Ann Arbor area using mass transit. I have no data as to whether or not it’s better for the Chicago area.
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Scott and Cordelia have pretty much settled on Chicago for our trip destination. Cordelia has made a short list of things that she wants to do there, and Scott’s trying to allocate time for each thing. Three things are clustered together (the Field Museum, the planetarium, and the aquarium, if I’m remembering correctly). Two others lie in opposite directions from the cluster (the Museum of Science and Industry and Navy Pier. Scott’s not sure that there’s enough at Navy Pier to interest Cordelia now that she’s no longer five). The last one… Well, she said 'shopping.' We’re neither of us sure what she means. Tourist stuff? Some specific store that she didn’t think to mention?

We will have either two or three days there, depending on when we leave and what we can afford in terms of lodging. If we can afford it, I’d like to leave mid-morning on Saturday and come back on Wednesday. No matter when we go, I’d like to stop in Kalamazoo or Lawton to see my brother and my parents for a couple of hours on the way down. I can’t see driving past and not stopping.

We’re looking at a lot of different options for places to stay. We don’t want to spend a lot, but we also don’t want to have to drive three hours each way into the city. Scott’s sister suggested that we stay with some friends of their parents, but Scott doesn’t feel right asking given that we haven’t seen them in years. They send us Christmas cards, but we don’t send anybody Christmas cards. We don’t know if they have animals (deal breaker for me). Scott also would prefer to find a place with a swimming pool because he thinks that rates very high on Cordelia’s list of things to be excited about when we leave home.

I need to look at his suggested hotel options before he chooses because I may well end up just staying in the hotel room most of the time. I really can’t manage museums and tramping around (even if there are likely to be huge opportunities for playing Ingress), and I find benches and most coffee shops uncomfortable, both physically and psychologically, so I hesitate to go with the intention of sitting and waiting while they explore. I suppose Ativan might help. I don’t know.

Scott does seem to want me along for as much as is feasible. He hasn’t suggested trying to get wheelchairs at the various museums, but I expect he’s looking into that option. I’m just reluctant because, the last time we did that, I couldn’t see 80% of the exhibits from the chair. Also, I’m kind of wide, and wheelchairs at museums are often too narrow for me to actually sit. But me going along might make things like meals a lot easier. I’m sure we’ll want to eat out at least once, preferably somewhere that’s different from what we generally have here.

Anybody know Chicago and the area around it well and have recommendations of places to stay and/or places to eat and/or places for me to sit in air conditioning with wifi and an electrical outlet while Scott and Cordelia explore?
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I sat on these for a while after writing them up. A lot of them turned into more me figuring out what the problem was and, maybe, what to do about it as opposed to me being puzzled over the problem or wanting help figuring out a solution. I think that writing about this has been good for me in terms of figuring out where these stories stand. I’m not sure that it’s actually at all interesting for anyone who’s not me, but posting it here means I won’t lose track of it. And if anyone actually wants to discuss any of these, I’m definitely up for it. I’m still not going to fast about responding to comments, but I’ll get there eventually.

I have also decided to label a bunch of bits and pieces that I haven’t touched in at least fifteen years as 'abandoned.' I’m not sure that I will hold to that because I’ve thought for years that I would go back to one or another of those stories, but… I haven’t done it so far, and it’s not like I don’t have enough other WIP to think about. The abandoned stories include two things that I wrote more than 20000 words on, so letting go is hard, but… No new words in a decade and a half. If I finished those stories, they might be great, or they might be terrible, but I’m not going to finish them.

Auguries of Innocence (Harry Potter). Discussion of rape in a dark AU. )

Occlusion (Weiss Kreuz) )

Untitled Weiss Kreuz time travel fic )

Nothing False and Possible (Amber). Discussion of gender and sexuality and what they mean for a species not fixed in terms of either )

Untitled Amber fic. Discussion of Patternghosts and effective slavery )

Untitled Narnia fic with Rilian and the Lady of the Green Kirtle )

Untitled Narnia fic with Polly and Digory back in Narnia )

One More Folded Sunset (Weiss Kreuz) )

Read more... )

And right here is a placeholder for something that I’ve realized I’m not writing because it’s the purest of Mary Sue crossover id fic and okay for day dreaming but actually extremely dull (even to me) when I try to write it. So that’s one WIP off my list.

Rooms of Falling Rain (DCU) )

Shatter Like a Cry (Weiss Kreuz) PWP BDSM with five male characters )

I should note that, both for the stuff listed here and in the previous post on the subject, I’m willing to let people see the fragments I’ve got if they’re willing to talk to me about them. I write better when I can talk to people about what I’m putting together. It’s just that a lot of this is darkfic or explicit or for obscure fandoms or otherwise not likely to interest 99.9% of the world.
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Hm. Now that I’m starting to write down what I’m stuck on in terms of various WIP, a lot of it comes down to me needing to figure out world building, plot direction, likely lines of character development, and/or combat choreography. So, basically, it’s a problem with me being a pantser and hitting points where that just won’t work. I do my best writing when I have two or three characters in a confined space and talking with each other or otherwise interacting. I almost never do prolonged scenes with more than three actively involved characters.

These are only a few of my stalled WIP. I’ve mostly been writing about them because my brain is kind of mush due to recent anxiety issues.

The problem here is fandom independent and doesn’t need warnings. The fic itself needs lots of warnings. )

Fandom is Rurouni Kenshin. Problem is partly combat logistics and partly character development. )

Fandom is Weiss Kreuz. Problem is world building in terms of the set up for the stories I’ve written not expanding well in the canon universe. )

Fandom is Weiss Kreuz. Problem is logistics. Canon needs to change but not from the point of view of most of the characters. )

Fandom is Narnia. Story involves child abuse and corruption. Problem is character development related )

Problem is fandom independent and pretty much all combat related. )

I’m definitely looking for advice, brainstorming help, and discussion on all of these.

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