Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I just realized that I haven't posted anything here in ten days.  I've been very focused on my writing.

Last Saturday was Writer's Night.  I read one of my Grandpa Anarchy stories -- Questionable Judgement.  People liked it okay, I guess.  (There weren't that many people present).  It doesn't have a strong punch or surprise ending like some of my stories have, but there's nothing majorly wrong with it either.

Anyway at the time I had spent most of the day planning to write and not getting very much written.  I was at 27,944 words -- just barely on schedule to finish with 50,000 words by November 30th.  But!  As noted before I've been working on brand new chapters -- I'm no longer trying to connect parts of story that were written with gaps in between -- and once I really sat down to work on it, things flowed very easily.

Thus on Sunday night I was at 31,226 words -- 3,282 words on the day.  I thought, "I wonder if I can keep that kind of production up?"  Monday I wrote 2,670 words.  Tuesday was a heartbreaking day -- I wrote 3,311 words, then accidentally overwrote my story file and had to rewrite everything before I went to bed, or I'd have gone to bed depressed and forgotten by the next day exactly what I'd written in those scenes.  I was up until Midnight, but I got everything rewritten.

Tonight I wrote another 3,774 words, which brings me to 40,981.  At this pace I could be done in 3-4 days.  I don't think I've ever finished early on NaNoWriMo -- I've always been pretty steady and managed to achieve 50,000 words on the last day or 2nd to last, but never managed to finish days ahead of schedule.  So that's my goal now.

I've nearly written two new chapters here too -- and I estimate I need 2 more chapters to finish off the whole Kahotep story arc.  I won't get that far by 50,000 words, but maybe I can keep writing and finish by the end of November or early December.

I started my magical girl story arc in 2007 I think... I'd be extremely happy to finish it off before year's end.  I don't eve know what I'd do with myself then.  Figure out if I could wrap up the main story in a couple more chapters, I guess.

I mean -- I've actually written scenes for a "genie" arc that comes after all of this -- but I'd want to move the main story along before dropping that in.  That's probably a 1 or 2 chapter arc, not a huge one like the ones I've been writing.  But I do have other ongoing plots I'm dealing with at the same time, so I know some of the directions that the story goes in at that point.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Full Steam Ahead!

Finally.  Finally!

I am  writing new scenes for my story Girl's School.  And by new, I mean scenes that happen after everything else that's already written.

Let's go back a few years.  I forget exactly when I started this story.  What I do remember is that I got the idea for a story in which Ranma wound up attending school at St. Hebereke's School for Girls, and wrote the first several chapters, and then promptly forgot about them.  A year or so later as I was looking through old story files I rediscovered what I'd written.  I liked it, and wrote the next several chapters.

Then -- I know when this happened because it was the first year I "won" NaNoWriMo, and that was November 2007 -- I decided to "jump ahead" in my story and write something that, at the time, I considered a sort of "side story".  A story about magical girls.  I wrote over 50,000 words about a magical girl adventure involving the characters in my fanfiction story.  Despite this, I had only begun to explore all of the plots I had going at that point.  I'd envisioned three different adventures for my magical girl team, and had only managed to write one of them and begin the second.

In November 2008 I went back and tried to write from where my story had left off originally.  I wanted to connect it to my magical girl plots.  But I had a lot of stuff going on.  I managed to write chapters 16 through 24, which were all eventually reworked and published at  At the time I thought I was really close to connecting this part of the story to my magical girl stories.  Some of what I'd written in these chapters tied directly into the magical girl stuff, which, since I'd already written it, I thought would be fun to do.

In November 2009 I jumped ahead again and wrote the third of my magical girl adventures.  This was a very ambitious plot and by the time I'd managed 50,000 words I was only about halfway through the tale.

In November 2010 I made yet another attempt to close the gap between chapter 24 and the magical girl stories.  I wrote a bunch of chapters that still didn't close the gap, and worse -- when I had some people read them, they didn't seem to work that well.  So instead of publishing the next chapter, I held off for more than two years.

In November 2011 I  tried to finish off what I'd begun in 2010, but for the first time in several years I failed to accomplish my goal.  I wrote a bit -- I actually finished off the second magical girl adventure, and then turned back to finish what happens between my chapters in 2010 and the first part of the magical girl stuff.  But I burned out and did not come anywhere near 50,000 words written that year.  I failed NaNoWriMo for the first time in five years.  Things remained unfinished, and I still needed to go back and rewrite the stuff from 2010.

In November 2012 I avoided my massive fanfiction story entirely.  Instead I worked on Grandpa Anarchy stories.  This tactic was a roaring success, and I expanded my collection of Grandpa Anarchy stories from 8 in October 2012 to 96 by October 2013.  This was a HUGE success!

But my fan fiction story Girl's School had languished for nearly three years.  Fans were wondering if I was still alive.  And my grand goal of uniting all the various parts I'd written was still unfinished.  So for 2013 that was my goal.

So far I've finished chapters 30 & 31, fixed up scenes at the end of chapter 39, added a scene in chapter 41, and am now working on chapter 45, which is the continuation of the third magical girl adventure... I have a continuous story up to chapter 45 now.   Woo!  From here on out I'm no longer trying to link older stuff together, I'm just continuing the story from where it last left off!

I spent a lot of Sunday and Monday just reading, so I fell behind a bit in my writing goals.  Now it's time to catch back up!  (And when I say a lot of reading -- I mean a LOT of reading.  My entire story spans several hundred thousand words now!)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mission Accomplished... Or Is It?

Today I finished chapter 30.  It's a very long chapter encompassing the end of the slumber party and the next day, and leading into a scene covering the end of the Fall quarter and the actual sale of the Tendo Dojo.  It's supposed to lead directly into chapter 31, which starts the "magical girl" arc.

Except... with the sale of the dojo I need to deal with what happens to Kasumi, where she moves to.  I was originally planning to move her onto the campus of the university she was going to attend, but that was going to be Tokyo University... and that doesn't make any sense.  She needs to pass the national university exams and the Tokyo university exams to get in.  The next school year begins around March/April  right after a short spring break -- she wouldn't be allowed into the university before then I don't think, especially if she hasn't taken the  exams (which she hasn't).  It's not like the U.S. where you can enroll early in the Spring or pick up classes at a Community College or whatever.  At least, I don't think it is.

I'm not actually sure where she should be.  A small apartment, rooming with Nabiki, staying with one of the other characters?  A boarding house like the one in Love Hinata or Maison Ikkoku?  That would be the most fun, so I may actually go with that idea.  But I need to figure it out first and then write it.

And speaking of all that -- I need to establish that Winter Quarter has started.  That should be at least one scene.  Also, the national college entrance exams are held in January, so I should go straight into that too.  Nabiki and Kasumi should be taking those, and I'm not sure who else.  For some reason I want to say that Kaida, Rin, and Akela are all seniors, but Kaida appears in the story in the same homeroom as Ranma and Akane, so she must be a junior.  Tatewaki Kuno would be a senior, of course, so I might mention him.  But I basically need to nail down which of my own characters are actually seniors besides Nabiki and Kuno.  All of them would be taking the exams.

I want to go back and read some Love Hina to get a better feel for how the exams should go.  So... I need to do some research, and write a few scenes.

I'll be tagging these scenes onto the beginning of chapter 31, because I don't want to write a whole new chapter.  I really do want to be finished with this part of the story, and have a complete story that flows from chapter 1 to chapter 39.

And then it's on to chapter 40, which will need some more work to connect directly to chapter 41 I think.  I'm not sure exactly what needs done just yet.

I'm excited though, being this close to connecting to the magical girl chapters that I wrote years ago that were placed so far ahead in my story.  I'll probably need to go through and edit those yet again -- I think my original plan was to have them happen later in the Fall, instead of January/February.  I also can't remember if I make any mention of the Tendo Dojo... I may not have known I was going to sell it when I wrote those chapters.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


My NaNoWriMo writing continues to move along.  I'm at 11,280 words on day 6, which is doing really well -- really well, considering that every other year I've ever done this I've fallen behind the curve really quickly, but this time I'm ahead of it.

My writing style is often very haphazard and scattershot, and not at all what I'd recommend for other writers.  I go back and edit and rewrite and add in stuff a lot.  A LOT.  I skip ahead and jot down bits of conversation and things that occur to me without knowing how they might fit in.

Case in point:  it's the day after the slumber party, and my plan was to have the girls go downtown, do some shopping, visit an amusement park, eat lunch, and then call it a day -- go back, collect their things and go home.  All well and good, but this is not a plot and it's not interesting.  What makes a story interesting is plot and character development.

Still, I started trying to write this part.  It came in fits and starts.  My overall plot is the challenge between Nabiki and Ranma, so I had to address that, because after the night before they were tied.  Okay, they can have a cooking contest.  I wrote something about all the girls waking up and the bathrooms being crowded... well, the washrooms anyway, in Japan you have a bathing room and a toilet and I  guess the wash room is separate?  Anyway it was kind of a paragraph floating in the middle of nowhere without anything dynamic happening in it.

Then I went back and tried to work on the cooking challenge.  Breakfast would come before washing up/getting ready for the day, yes?  Once I'd watched a couple of videos on how tamagoyaki was made, I was able to write the whole cooking challenge scene quite easily.  Then, when I went back to the beginning and wrote "Morning came.  Ranma awoke.", I realized that Ranma always woke up earlier than everyone else and went outside to train, and Akane was used to training with Ranma now.  So the opening scene for the next morning came together -- Ranma goes out, starts doing katas, Akane joins her, they begin to spar, others wake up and come out to watch and are amazed.  Then they talk about the challenge and the cooking challenge is suggested, and we flow into that.

And then what?  I had an idea in the back of my mind that something would happen during the day where Ranma would rescue his cousin, maybe save her from thugs or a runaway vehicle or a horse (perhaps a mad horse with Sentaro Daimonji and his wife Satsuke riding it).  Ranma would grab Izuko and jump to a rooftop, and Izuko would finally realize that Ranma was a pretty cool martial artist.  But then -- I wrote the morning scene with Akane and Ranma sparring, and so Izuko has already seen Ranma's amazing leaping ability.  Still, I'd almost settled on "the big thing that happens" being the return of Pantyhose Taro, working from the manga story (volume 21 in my VIZ collection) in which he shows up a second time, this time with the octopus tentacles, and with the supposed water from the Spring of Drowned Honorable Man to douse Happosai with.  I'd written some dialogue from the conversation, starting with Pantyhose saying, "Well, if it isn't the Crossdressing Coward and his friends...."

Then I came up with some dialog for the trip into town.  Ranma was upset at having lost the cooking contest to Nabiki -- Ranma was too arrogant, she didn't expect Nabiki to know anything about cooking.  Now she's mad at herself.  Miyuki pays a lot of attention to Ranma, so she would notice and ask what's wrong.  is Ukyo bringing her battle spatula?  Of course she is, she brings it everywhere.  Would Ukyo be annoyed that they're going to a restaurant for lunch and it's not hers?  Probably.  Would Shampoo then suggest that the Cat Cafe was the best place to go?  Yes, yes she would.  Maybe Miyuki would suggest that next time, they can go to Uchan's (as a way to pacify Ukyo), but then of course the last time they went to Uchan's for a club meeting, they were attacked by sexy teahouse ninjas.

And if we're bringing up weird attacks, then let's not forget they were attacked last night.  Weird things always happen around Ranma.  In fact, Ranma wouldn't rule out something happening to them today.

All of this fell together pretty easily into a conversation during the trip into town.  I stopped to figure out how many limos they were using (three, for about 20 girls), and who was in the limo with Ranma, which limited who could be in the conversation -- but Miyuki, Ukyo and Shampoo had to be there.  When I got to the last line:

"Like last night with Happy and that Dreaming Jewel?" Ranma replied.  "Yeah, pretty much.  And I wouldn't rule out something weird happening today either."

I glanced to the beginning of the next scene, and I saw:


"Well, if it isn't the crossdressing coward and his friends.  Who are you hiding from now, crossdresser?"
Ranma turned to see a familiar face -- that of a tall, muscular Chinese boy with thick black hair.  He was carrying a large round glass bottle wrapped in rope netting.
"Pantyhose Taro!" Ranma exclaimed.

And you know what?  This works.  Suddenly I know I don't need to describe anything that happens between these two lines.  I don't have to say, "They spent the morning shopping," or explain where they parked the limos, or if they visited the amusement park, or any of the stuff that they were supposed to do -- because the plot and the characters are all that matter.  My conversation in the limo hits some plot points and character development points, so it works pretty well, and then we suggest something else is about to happen and jump straight to the scene where it starts to happen.  I didn't write those lines expecting them to be the start of the next scene, but they very clearly are.

I like it when things come together!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NaNoWriMo Update, day 5

I'm at 9,800 words for today, probably 10,000 before I go to bed.  (I can crank out 200 more words can't I?)

Here's what it's like for me writing sometimes:

I'm doing a dream sequence / series of dream sequences in my anime fanfic story.  A lot of characters are trapped in a dreamworld, and each time one of them "wakes up" and remembers who they really are, the entire dream changes.  First it was a ronin samurai tale, then it was a 1920's Chicago ganster tale, and then it was a modern magical girl story.

I want the main character and a secondary character to defeat a demon that's causing these dreamworlds.  I was going to try and end it in the gangster scenario, but I kind of wrote my characters into a corner -- although I managed to get them to meet, and one of them knew there was a demon at the center of the dreamworld that needed defeating, I realized that they likely weren't anywhere near the demon and had no way to find it.  Originally I'd planned to do a magical girl world too -- but it seemed unnecessary.  Now I realized it really was necessary -- it gave the characters the tools to find the demon and defeat it.

So!  Someone wakes up, dreamworld resets.  This magical girl world was based on Card Captor Sakura, so I pulled out my old DVDs and watched a few episodes.  I sat down to write.  Okay, but what does Sakura's bedroom look like?  I tried to look this up online, but this wasn't much help.  I went back and watched another episode.

Okay!  Wrote some more.  One of the characters is supposed to look like Syoran.  How do I describe his battle costume?  This time, I'm able to look the information up.

Wait, what's Sakura's activation phrase again?  I like the English subtitled version, and my online sources are not exactly the same.  I go back and watch part of an episode to get it right.

Wait, what are Syoran's attacks?  More research -- again, online sources are not exactly like the subtitled English, so I must go back and watch.

Okay, what are those demon-banishing ward things called?  You see them in anime all the time, but are they called "wards".  More research.  I am so glad that I live in the age of the internet!  Ofuda or sutras, depending on if it's Shinto based or Buddhist based.  Okay, got it.

I eventually make it through the demon battle and back to the main story.  The girls are going to a fancy evening out!  Hmm... how do I describe the dresses they wear?  The funny thing is you can search on "dinner dresses" and get lots of pictures of exactly what you're looking for, and still not really know how to describe it.  How would a fashion magazine describe it?  I manage to find a glossary of clothing terms for writers, which helps out a lot.

Next problem -- where are they going?  Saying "we're going to something like an opera or ballet" doesn't cut it.  I need to be specific, so they're  going to the Tokyo Ballet.  But what are they seeing?  I don't want something that takes forever, I have a lot of things for them to do this evening.  I spend a great deal of time looking at what ballets the Tokyo Ballet typically perform, what ballets are the most popular, etc., but I have a hard time finding a ballet that is short.  Trying to search on "short ballet" gets me nowhere -- I get hits on ballets for little kids, etc.  I wind up just saying it's a "mixed repertory program" -- a collection of short ballets, usually non-story dance ballets.  That works.

And saying they're going to "a very good restaurant" or "one of the best restaurants in Tokyo" doesn't work well either.  Saying they're going to "Argento Aso, an excellent Italian restaurant" works.  In this case I probably could have made up a name, but I used the name of a real restaurant in the Ginza.  I spend more time trying to figure out how long it's been around, just in case it's fairly new and might not have existed when my story is set (about mid 2000's roughly), but the restaurant's web site doesn't have any information on when they were founded.  I decide not to sweat it, who's really going to know or care?

Tonight's problem was breakfast -- two of the characters were involved in a challenge to make the best breakfast.  What do they make?  How about omelettes?  Okay, but do the Japanese make omelettes like I would?  They wouldn't use cheese would they?  Do they add milk?  After a little research and a couple of Youtube video demonstrations, I have my answer:  yes, Japanese make omelettes, no, they don't use cheese.  They make those rolled tamagoyaki omelettes, but I find one demonstration that includes milk (they don't always use milk) and includes chopped carrot, onion, and scallion, so I use that as my template -- mostly because I want an omelette that has stuff in it, and it gives me more to write about I guess.

This is how a lot of my writing has gone this week -- short bits of prose followed by pauses to do research.  It's hard to sound like you know what you're talking about all of the time, but at least with the internet you can make a good attempt.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Wednesday I worked on Stronger.  I have the framework for this story now -- a tale of Grandpa Anarchy's past.  I consider this an important story that should fit into my 2nd novel, when I get ready to publish that.  But aside from figuring out the basics, I didn't get much actual writing done.

Thursday I began rereading Girls School, my massive fan fiction story that I want to work on for NaNoWriMo.  I continued to read it on Friday.  It's a massive story, and I didn't get all the way through the first 16 chapters before I decided to skip ahead to chapter 25 and beyond.  I did some rewriting of chapter 25-29 last night, and then I decided that chapter 25 was ready to publish, so I put it up on  I've been worried that this chapter didn't work, but after last night I decided it was as good as I could make it -- and based on reader feedback so far, I guess it does work.

My NaNoWriMo goal is to finish chapters 30-31, and then chapter 40, and anything unwritten beyond that point (beyond chapter 44).  I want to finally connect everything up here and make it possible to finally publish some of these chapters I wrote 7 or 8 years ago!

I'm off to a slow start, but I'm not worried.  I spent all of yesterday and part of this morning reading before I finally got to the place where I needed to write more.  Will update when I have more to say!