Author has written 7 stories for Vandread, Chrysalids, Date A Live/デート・ア・ライブ, and Oh My Goddess!.
July 6 2022: Still plugging away.
VanDread — Glacial progress on Chapter 41, about 3,000 words
Destination Zealand — Geologic progress on Chapter 8, about 2,000 words
Lost Soul — Chapter 17 is progressing, about 7,500 words
Back In The Clouds — Chapter 3 is up to about 2,000 words
About writing in general:
I read an account of an aspiring writer, a long time ago, asking a famous science fiction author for advice. When the questions were finished, Robert A. Heinlein gave his answer: “Tell the story.”
So, that’s what I try to do. Tell the story, in as much detail as I think makes sense.
When I write a story, I'm not in any hurry to reach the end. I don't look for shortcuts. In fact, I tend to wander down side roads and check out the scenery. Why not? There's no publisher breathing down my neck demanding 'Get it finished already!' or telling me there are 'too many words'. I write a story the way I want to read it.
I call a chapter complete when everything that needs to be in it is written. Then I spend some time reading, re-reading, revising, sometimes re-writing. When I'm happy with it, when I consider it ready to post, then it gets to be called finished. I might still make more changes, but it's finished, dammit!
Dialogue is hard. Getting everybody to say what I need them to say while making it look like the natural course of a conversation, and keeping them all in character... I spend a lot of time staring at the next blank space going, "What now? Who says it? How does it lead to the rest of what I need them to say?" Sometimes the dialogue runs off into the weeds on me and I have to stop, figure out where it went astray, scrap hours of work and start again.
Exposition is easier. Problem is, too much exposition is boring. You’re telling a story about the story, instead of telling the story. On the other hand, too much mundane detail can be even more boring. Using a little exposition to dispose of hours when your characters don’t do much of interest can be the right thing to do. Sometimes, I cut to a later time and back-fill the important bits.
Sometimes I'll get ideas for a scene, and the words just run out. That's how writing seems to go for me. After a while I've got all these scenes written, scattered pieces and even whole chapters of a story, but they're not tied together AT ALL. The time and hard work goes into writing the 'mortar' that holds those scenes together and makes them a story.
When I get an idea, I write it down. Get it on the screen somewhere, then try to figure out where it goes. If you have an idea and don't write it down, it won't be there when you want it.
Some of the drek I've seen here on FanFiction has prompted me to compose:
Eight Rules For Better Writing
As an author, yours is the god-like power to make absolutely ANYTHING happen, make your characters do or say whatever you want. If you abuse that power, if you make crazy, stupid, arbitrary senseless shit happen for no evident reason, your stories will suck. The readers will tell you they suck, because you have NO power over them.
I got laid off in the summer of 2016. Decided to take a break and look for work, but not too hard. I rediscovered FanFiction and found a VanDread story called Crimson Tears [REBOOT] by Soulimpared. I liked it, until I finished Chapter 5 and found that there WAS no Chapter 6. It just stopped. It hadn't been updated in over 4 years. Waaaaah!
Well, I wanted to know what happened after that. I tried to contact Soulimpared, but got no answer. If I wanted to read more of that story, it looked like I was going to have to write it myself. So…I started writing. I had written a few random paragraphs years before, and some fairly long articles on several different discussion sites, but never felt up to tackling a story. VanDread, and Soulimpared's story, struck something.
For the first time, I had a story start to come together and actually make sense. Writing wasn't easy, but I was learning how fairly fast. The only way to learn to write is to write. There was one situation I wanted to see resolved, and I figured it would take 8,000 to 10,000 words, maybe 12,000.
By the beginning of 2017, I had 23 chapters and over 50,000 words, and it still wasn't done.
I was getting readers, but not as many as I thought there should be. I noted that the default search settings did not include M rated stories, and wondered if people were just not seeing mine. I decided to write a short T-rated intro chapter as a hook, to point more readers to the main story. I wrote a different take on how Barnette and Hibiki first started seeing each other. When that was finished, I thought it needed more, added another chapter, and posted them as A Picture Of Dita. I've marked that story Complete, with those first two chapters of the overall story.
Well, that started something. A rather different story began bubbling up from…somewhere, still a similar story but not quite the same. I added another 4 chapters, bringing the total to 27, and over 70,000 words, but also started writing scenes and whole chapters that took place between the two existing parts.
Then in early 2017 Soulimpared posted three more chapters, taking his story in a completely different direction, and mine had to go its own way. I wound up inserting another 13 chapters ahead of the existing story, finally closing the gap in May 2018, and then revising every one of those 27 chapters to resolve the inconsistencies that had been introduced, and add more material I had thought up. In September 2018 all 40 chapters were finally finished.
At the present time, the story is up to about 220,000 words, not counting another 15,000 or so that will eventually go 'out there' past Chapter 40.
It's been a lot of work, but I think I've got a pretty good story so far. A few other people have agreed. I'd really like it if somebody would give me some feedback on the space battles in Chapters 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12. Some different perspectives would be welcome.
I made up a huuuuge spreadsheet in LibreOffice to track the Nirvana's and the enemy's speed, acceleration and distance second-by-second through the space battle in Chapter 7. When Belvedere Coco and Amarone Slaintheva report where the enemy are and what they're doing, it's accurate! I even tracked the missiles.
Wrote three scenes about BC, one of them about telling off a Taraak Army officer for being an asshat to the Nirvana's crew. They're in Chapters 23, 26 and 39.
I've got a few ideas, now, for where the VanDread story can go after Chapter 40.
I'm considering taking up Deathstalker982's 'VanDread Challenge' to create an avatar character for the Pyxis. I've got an introduction scene that looks pretty good, and will go somewhere after Chapter 41 if it gets used. This won't just be a human-shaped puppet animated by the Pyxis; it will be an independent entity capable of both communicating with the Pyxis and talking to humans. The Pyxis is just too different for direct communication to work — it is a billion-year-old god-like intelligence from another universe, after all.
The Chrysalids: (published in the US as Re-Birth)
The Chrysalids is a great story, but I never liked the ending. No helicopter can fly that far on one tank of gas, and I really didn't like the author leaving Michael and Rachel behind, or not telling us what happened to Sally, Katherine and Mark. I didn't care for the Zealand woman's callous attitude, either. I'd tinkered with some ideas, written a few paragraphs, but reading Glenstorm63's Further Tales Of The Chrysalids gave me the kick in the tookus I needed. I cranked out 6 chapters in November and December 2017, then ground out the seventh one in February 2018.
What I've got so far is almost as long as the original book, so it looks like the tail will get longer than the dog. As long as it's a good story, I don't care.
The story has stopped jumping up and down and yelling at me, but I'm still working at it. John Wyndham sent them to Zealand, so I should get them at least that far before calling it done. I've been kind of stuck at the third paragraph of Chapter 8 forever, but I haven't abandoned the story. I've made good progress on an epilog.
Date A Live:
I'd been toying with some ideas, wondering what might happen if a Spirit suddenly appeared in our world. I wrote a few paragraphs here and there, stuck them together, shuffled them around, added some more, and after a few months it started to look like a story. In March 2018 I got more serious about it, grinding out the 'mortar' to hold everything together, re-reading, revising, tinkering, and finally posted the first chapter of Lost Soul in June 2018.
I wasn't satisfied with the title at first, but I just can't think of anything else that fits. Now it's growing on me.
I’m trying to give her rationalized, techno-fied versions of most of the Spirits’ powers, which leads to some other implications of such technology. She can pull a sword out of nowhere, fly, project a force shield, slice an object in half, transform her clothing…what other tech does she have, and what else can the things she's already demonstrated do?
And then there are the big questions. Who was she? What was she? Why does she have all those capabilities, and what was their original purpose?
I needed her to learn English with unnatural speed, to understand and use every word from the first time she heard it. Wouldn’t be much of a story if she was stuck at ‘you Daniel, me Jane’ for weeks on end, now would it? Nothing remotely like Date A Live, and certainly not the story I wanted to write. That capability has other implications, that will show up later.
As she learns about our world, I'm including some elements like 'Stranger In A Strange Land' where someone not from our world looks at the wacky things we do and asks, "Why?"
Something I saw elsewhere got me ta thinkin' — Daniel Evans is NOT a Chosen One. He wasn't handed a sword by some watery tart, or given a destiny by eldritch powers. He didn't discover that he was secretly born to royalty. There is no precursor, no hidden back-story that he was 'meant' to save a Spirit. He was just a guy who stumbled into a bizarre situation; it was entirely his own choice to help that lost soul, and be true to her. Any rewards he gets will come because he earned them, not because he was 'special' from the beginning.
I have thought of a way to reconcile the existence of 'Date A Live' within my story, without making it the monstrous coincidence it initially appears to be. The reveal on that should take everybody by surprise.
This is a Fan Fiction story based on a harem anime series. It just HAS to contain some number of anime cliches, and so it does. I have done my best to subvert the hell out of them, for laughs. I hope everybody has fun with those.
Chapter 1 got about 40 reads in the first three days, and a really complimentary review. That sure felt good.
Chapter 2 — August 2018, got more reads and another nice review, and somebody asked for permission to translate the story into Chinese. I wonder where that will lead?
Chapter 3 — September 2018. There was NO WAY I was going to call it 'The Short Arm Of The Law'!
Chapter 4 — October 2018, introducing the purple-haired woman to an anime show called Date A Live. Say, whaaaaat?
Chapter 5 — December 2018, she listens to some music, a money-making scheme is proposed, and they can't fly like Superman and Lois Lane
Chapter 6 — January 2019, she learns more things, sees the news, and experiences pizza. 'Work for the Shadows?' is of course a Babylon 5 reference.
Chapter 7 — January 2019, they finish supper, listen to more music, she discovers a startling new ability
Chapter 8 — February 2019, finally brings their first day to an end with not just one, but TWO Obligatory Shower Scenes
Chapter 9 — November 2019, their second day starts with breakfast, and a lot more questions, before they head downtown
Chapter 10 — January 2020, they speak to a crowd, appear on TV and ask the Mayor for help
Chapter 11 — April 2020, trying to convince the Mayor to marry them
Chapter 12 — July 2020, they go to the County Clerk's office
Chapter 13 — October 2020, negotiating with the District Attorney and a quick stop at Dan's job
Chapter 14 — February 2021, they find some Men In Black investigating the crater
Oh My Goddess:
Something that happened to me and a friend inspired a little one-shot. Vicarious revenge is better than none at all!
I've come up with something inspired by HotelKatz's What-If stories. Another of Mara's attempts to get rid of the three Goddesses misfires. Now complete.
Everything I've got written is posted now. I'm terrible at scheduling, or guessing how long it will take me to do anything, so the schedule is 'I don't have a clue'.
I've been doing some editing on IdiAmeanDada and Nena Camadera's Oh My Goddess! fanfic 'Scarred Survivors'. Great story, I highly recommend it.