Author has written 136 stories for Lost In Blue, Drawn to Life, Homestuck, Pokémon, Doctor Who, Rise of the Guardians, How to Train Your Dragon, Tales of Symphonia, RWBY, Tales of the Abyss, Tales of Vesperia, Tales of Xillia, Final Fantasy VII, Legend of Zelda, Dragon Age, Tales of Graces, Tales of Zestiria, Hakuōki/薄桜鬼, Code Realize: Guardian of Rebirth, Tales of Berseria, and Final Fantasy XV.
Current Fandom(s): Final Fantasy XV
Crush of the Day: Ravus Nox Fleuret (FFXV)
Pairing of the Day: Ardyn/Luna (FFXV)
The Playlist In My Head: "Libiamo ne' lieti calici" (La Traviata)/"Un di felice, eterea" (La Traviata)
Greetings! I'm Alley Cat Sunflower, but you probably knew that already since you clicked on my name to get here… and since I mentioned it just above. But you can just call me Alley if you want. (Or not. I don't care.)
And now to get the self-promotion out of the way. If you're into Hakuōki, which has become my home base fandom at this point, I run a stupid side blog called "shenanigumi". (Like, it's so stupid. Don't even think about checking it out, and if you do, don't say I didn't warn you.) If you're into Final Fantasy XV and/or VII, I also run a slightly less dumb but also less active side blog called "crystalline-lifestream". My Twitter is "@AlleyCatAuthor", but I never use it. My FictionPress is "Alley Cat Sunflower", but I'm ashamed of everything I put up there. If you want less terrible original work, I have yet another side blog for that: "thestorytellersprotege".
I am a bag of contradictions: a social introvert, alternately overconfident and insecure. The one constant is that my comfort zone is the truth; I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. Because of this, it's very easy to read me, for better or for worse. I may come across as brusque when unhappy, but I also stand behind every compliment I offer. However, I sometimes verge on the gullible because I expect everyone to be as up-front and honest as I am, and… well, that doesn't usually happen in a world like this.
I also happen to be one of the truest Aquarians you'll ever meet, despite my uncomfortable proximity to Pisces. (I guess the double Aquarius and Aries rising fend off the emotionalism somewhat.) My Enneagram type is self-preservation 7 with a phobic 6 wing, and according to the Meyers-Briggs typing system, I'm an INTP. As for gender and orientation, I'm a cis female, grayromantic and possibly graysexual—though for all intents and purposes I'm ace.
Despite the fact that I'm fairly inexperienced in the world of conventional relationships, I tend to write primarily pairing-oriented stories. Most of that is because interpersonal dynamics of all kinds fascinate me: how people behave around one another, why that is, and what bearing feelings have on actions. I'm especially interested in the romantic spectrum of emotion, particularly when there are complications, and enjoy exploring the relationship between love and lust. In general, I like considering how exactly personalities are developed and change over time, with and without influence from other people.
On a somewhat related note, I can't say I'm either optimistic or pessimistic, because it usually depends on the attitude of the people around me. If more people are pessimistic, I tend toward the optimistic, and vice versa. I can say with confidence, however, that few things make me more negative than an overwhelmingly positive attitude. If we could all choose to be happy, we'd all be happy, okay? Stop bugging me about that blindingly bright side.
Oh, and five other miscellaneous tidbits about me: one, my second favorite pastime is dancing, of which I don't do nearly enough. Two, I love the rain to the point that prolonged periods of sunlight depress me. Three, I've always hated English classes; I consider myself a largely self-taught writer. Four, the two topics I can always find something to say about are astrology and video game soundtracks. And five, Bugs Bunny is my hero—enough said.
Okay, I'll stop talking about myself now. I got a little carried away there.
I've moved my Tales of Zestiria: Ring of Fate reference and fanwork section to my main tumblr, alley-cat-sunflower: /private/173200439441/tumblr_p7lqkz19fe1rwdlz0
OC-MEME-CENTRAL'S FANFICTION QUESTIONNAIRE
1. How about a brief introduction of yourself? I've already included one. If that wasn't more than enough for you, a.) I'm surprised, and b.) tough, because I don't know what else to say.
2. And what got you into fanfiction to begin with? It depends on what you mean by that. I've always been interested in the idea of developing undeveloped territory in previously established stories, like Shakespearean plays ("The Taming of the Shrew" could be considered one of my first fandoms). My evil stepmother was the one who first told me people besides me wrote stuff about that and posted it on the internet. She actually helped me set up this account way back when I was like, thirteen.
3. What kind of fanfiction do you like to write? As previously mentioned, I'm fascinated by the way characters interact, so a lot of my stuff revolves around relationships. Like, a lot of it. But my relationship with smut is odd. I can't stand to write detailed anatomical descriptions, so even when I don't fade to black, I'm typically focusing on… other things. Hard to explain, but prime and primal contains more than enough examples of how I handle it.
4. Do you tend to write the same pairings/characters? Or are you a fandom whore? Why not both? I'm a member of several fandoms (although the only ones in which I consider myself an active participant are Hakuōki and maybe Final Fantasy XV), and I write whatever strikes me as interesting. But typically, it's the same set of characters and pairings per fandom that strike me as interesting.
5. What is your most popular fanfic, and why do you think people like it so much? Judging by the numbers, Another Day at Beacon is definitely my most popular story. As for why people like it, I have no idea. I still get at least a few favs and/or follows every couple weeks, even though I've explicitly stated it's on indefinite hiatus due to being awful. Er, well, due to being OOC; to me, that's much the same thing. Someday, I'll get my ass in gear and edit the thing so it's actually worth all the hype. Or maybe do a gritty reboot.
6. Forget other people… what is the fanfic you've written that you're most proud of? Oh man, this changes all the time based on whatever my current project is. Typically, it goes to a multi-chapter story, like Tales of Zestiria: Ring of Fate or prime and primal.
7. Do you find writing easy? Hard? What are the most difficult aspects of writing? Writing to me is as easy as talking, and I'm sure I do it at least as often. That said, it's still really hard for me to muster the motivation to finish anything I start, which is why I have so abysmally few multi-chapter stories up here (not counting the several I've abandoned at this point). I'd have to say that my biggest writing-related difficulty is spending too much time writing, to the point that I forget to socialize and/or perform well academically and/or take care of myself.
8. Write a few sentences or so of your favorite pairing or character. Zelos/Sheena, Tales of Symphonia: They both know he's been in worse brawls than this before, but that doesn't stop either of them from going at it again. If he's being honest, it'd be a piece of cake to dodge those kicks and punches, but he makes it a point never to be honest. It's her insults that stick more, anyway, like gum in his hair—but he lets her do that too, because he doesn't remember he has a heart till her voice pierces it with a few more well-placed blows. But even as she reaches inside and tears him open once more, he only grimaces to hide the smile. She never yells at the Chosen, but at Zelos Wilder, and her genuine anger means more to him than a thousand false compliments ever could.
9. Are there any fanfiction trends/clichés that you're sick of? I don't read nearly as much as I write, to be perfectly honest, because my standards are way too damn high. If haphazard spelling/grammar/punctuation, wildly inconsistent paragraph length (as in enormous blocks of text followed by several single lines—I'm not gonna come after you over a two-sentence difference), inaccurate characterization, underdeveloped OCs/self-inserts, generally contrived or convenient scenarios/plotlines, and/or ridiculous smut-related euphemisms count as trends/clichés, then those are definitely the ones that grind my gears the most.
10. Are you guilty of any of these? Or have you committed other crimes? Oh, you can bet a lot of my earlier stuff is OOC as all hell, hence my reason for putting Another Day at Beacon on hold. I've been trying to get better about that, but of course I can't judge my own stuff as well as other people. Other than that, I've committed plenty of crimes myself. Repetition of certain phrases, too many synonyms for 'said', too many adverbs, and too many semicolons/run-on sentences come to mind. But I'm trying to fix them, and I suppose the fact that I can identify issues like those proves I've improved at least a little.
11. What was the first fandom you wrote for? Are you still a member of that fandom? The first fandom I ever wrote for was Pokémon, but I pulled that story ages ago to spare everyone the horror. And you can bet I'm still a member, even though I don't write nearly enough for it. Hopefully, once I actually plot out this one insanely long epic in my head, that'll change.
12. Name your OTPs or most frequently written pairings/characters and explain what it is about them that you love to write. Since I have way too many ships I consider OTPs in one way or another, I'll just say I like writing the spicy ships instead of the sweet ones. I like pairings with more substance to them than undying love and pure affection. Give me a ship with problems and passion, and I'm almost guaranteed to like it. As for characters, I'm mostly a sucker for personality development and the reasons behind it. Show me an interesting backstory or an unexpected evolution and I'll probably be in love. (But I do seem to have a distinct bias toward villains.)
13. What do you call your writing "style"? Uh, I don't call it anything, really. Wordy, perhaps, sometimes to the point of being verbose, but I've been trying to get better about that lately. I focus a lot on description, especially of emotions, and have a rather extensive vocabulary, which I am not afraid to use. If I'm being honest, I could stand to be a little more circumspect in that department.
14. Do you read other people's fanfics? If so, what do you find yourself reading the most? As I've said, I don't read nearly as much as I write. Still, if I'm in the mood, I'll read anything as long as it's well-written enough—provided it's not one of my antiships. The problem is, the fics I consider well-written are extremely few and far between. Thus, if I love a character or ship enough, I'll settle for reading for concept instead of execution, although I'm such an insufferable snob I'll call that stooping. (For me, it's not always the thought that counts.)
15. Name one thing you'd love to write but haven't yet. It's a safe bet that if I said everything that came under this category, it'd be a list as long as that of my published stories. Lately, I've been developing a Final Fantasy XV AU centered around Lunardyn, but I won't be able to finish or post it till next year, since I want to play the Season 2 DLC first.
16. Do you have trouble taking criticism? Or worse yet, do you have a really bloated ego? I wouldn't say my ego is bloated, but because I've refined my style through continual practice and my own editing eye rather than conscious adjustment based on others' feedback, I'm not really used to criticism. Thus, I can't deny that I tend to get a little defensive when people offer it, even constructively, and I've noticed that I have a bad habit of making justifications. But I'm trying to learn to take comments in a spirit of friendly advice, so please bear with me.
17. When you write, is there anything that helps? Music? Quiet room? Usually, I have something fandom-related going on in the background, or at least readily accessible in case I need it for reference. This is most common with my Tales fics, for which I stand around in the overworld in relevant locations to take in the scenery. However, there are times when I prefer to listen to a playlist instead, such as whenever I work on prime and primal. It contains tracks from various Hakuōki games, HakuMyu, and songs that remind me of the plot.
18. What inspires you? I wish I knew. It seems kind of random. Frame of mind permitting, the most common factor appears to be music.
19. Lastly, how would you sum up your fanfiction experiences and yourself as a writer? Overall, my experience as a fanfiction writer has been overwhelmingly positive, though much of that may be because I write for smaller communities and they seem to be a little more tightly knit. Even though I write mostly for myself, I post for everyone else, so it's really nice whenever anyone so much as glances my way. If you're reading this, thank you!!
They just couldn't make it an even twenty questions, could they? Ugh…
NEAR & DEAR TO MY HEART: AROSPEC/ASPEC HEADCANONS