rallamajoop: (xxxHolic)
Before that subject line goes and makes things too awkward, lemme clarify that this is mostly going to be a post about how I'm finally tackling the job of getting my long-neglected AO3 account up to date with all that fic I have been writing. Progress so far has been largely dependent on a new habit of uploading a chapter or two a day while I'm wait for my latest site simulation to run (one of those frustrating little things that takes most of a minute to finish, thus becoming long-enough-to-get-bored during but not long-enough-to-get-something-else-done) but it's still progress and not to be sneezed at. So far I'm done importing everything I had archived over at my old fanfic.net account (also neglected since way back in 2009, ugh). I feel that if one is going to commit oneself to doing a job like this it ought to be done right, and that means uploading everything I have ever posted, in chronological order. My few old Naruto and Kingdom Hearts fics are all done; so's most of xxxHOLiC, and some of my early Guilty Gear. Having got that far, however, I've hit minor snag, which is to say I've gone and reminded myself of one of the things that's kept me from doing all this much sooner.

Way back in the day in xxxHOLiC fandom circa 2007, I put out a call for people to give holic/Tsubasa Alternate Universe prompts, wound up picking eight to write and generally had terrifically good fun with it all. One of those ficlets went on to spawn a much longer story set in a post-apocalyptic universe that I called The Telling of One Billion Ghost Stories*. I took to posting it under a draft label in chunks of about 2000 words a week through 2007-08, eventually coming in at over 90,000 words. Since the longest story I'd ever written before clocked in at maybe 25,000, this was A Big Deal - the first real proof I'd ever been able to produce that I was capable of writing novel-length fiction. All it needed now was some revisions and cleaning up so I could drop the 'draft' label before I could post it properly.

And there I hit the problems, because my investment in xxxHOLiC was waning at that point, and the original ficlet didn't really work as well as the beginning of a novel, but making myself revise something I'd written so long ago (and was still quite attached to at that) was never going to be easy, and looking back on it now this would be about when the depression was really setting in for me and everything was getting harder. I made a spirited attempt at getting the job done, but getting the first chapter to work remained a major stumbling block, and the laptop I'd taken to doing most of my editing on wasn't running the right word processing program and all these other little things kept getting in the way. I lost contact with the person who'd offered to beta for me (which I really cannot blame her for considering how badly I was struggling with enthusiasm for the project myself) and finishing Ghost Stories joined the growing list of things which existed to make me feel guilty for never feeling up to doing them. And so it was that every time I looked at my ff.net account with all my old holic stories, I'd remind myself about the story I was meant to be finishing, and end up doing neither.

It was pretty much inevitable that when I got up to uploading those old xxxHOLiC AU ficlets to AO3 I was going to go through the whole thing again. The good news on that front is that this time, I decided what the hey - may as well have one more crack at it, tracked down my last version of the first part of Ghost Stories, and ended up rewriting the opening paragraph in one sitting. The rest of the first chapter still needed a of more work, so I gave myself a deadline: by the time I'd finished posting the rest of the old AU ficlets to AO3**, I'd have it done.

I sent it off to a friend to have a look over the other day. I've been working on this story now for far too long to have any sort of objective opinion on it myself anymore, but I know if I can just get the beginning sorted out, the rest will be easier. It doesn't have to be perfect at this stage - I know people read and enjoyed the draft version. What matters is that I'll have it done at last. It's the longest single piece of writing I've ever written before or since, and I'll be able to point to it and say, hey, not only can I write novel length fiction, I can stick out the job long enough to get it finished and posted. And just maybe, a few people who never found the draft will read it and enjoy it. That's worth trying for.

I could still really use a new beta reader if anyone's up for helping me with the rest though. There's a lot of words on this thing still to go.



* Casual ref there to an event from xxxHOliC canon where the characters sat down to tell a hundred ghost stories in a ritual format (they only got as far as four, but the 'Hundred Ghost Stories' thing has significance in Japanese mythology).

** Which I must admit I have been taking my sweet time on, but what the hell.
rallamajoop: (Default)
I have reached that point with my WIP list lately where no matter what I sit down to work on, there will be that nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me I really ought to be working on one of the other ones (it would be nice if this at least deterred me from compounding the problem by starting new stuff, but... well, let's just say that recent fling with Inception fandom has not done much to help matters). In the usual Catch 22 of such matters, this is not helping my productivity on anything.

So in hope of getting my priorities in some kind of logical order (and also out of general curiosity), have a poll:

[Poll #1648224]

Usual disclaimer: inspiration being what it is I cannot guarantee that whatever wins the poll will be what gets posted next, but I can promise to make the extra effort.

While I'm on the subject, if anyone does want to ask, say, 'have you actually made any progress on [X]?' or 'are you ever planning on continuing [Y]?' or what-have-you, by all means, go for it.
rallamajoop: (xxxHolic)
Right, I've had a bit of a break, time to start thinking about editing the final version of The Telling of One Billion Ghost Stories into some kind of shape.

I still want to post the finished copy in chapters, as 90,000 words is far too much to tackle in one go, but it'll need to be compressed down to fewer installments or I'll be posting this thing just about forever. So far, the plan is to try for chapters around twice as long as most of the draft ones (4000 words or so, allowing for where scene breaks will work), posting twice a week but probably only plugging them from the comms every couple of chapters because otherwise the spam is going to get epic. If I keep that up, it's still going to take me around least ten weeks to get it all posted. Obviously, both I and whoever's betaing will need a serious head start to keep up that kind of pace, so I'd better make sure I'm a good way through with the editing before I start posting at all. The way my schedule looks right now, if this is all done by the end of the year, I should probably count it as a big success. I am also going to friends lock all the entries for the draft version once I start posting the finished one, since I'm not keen on the idea of having both versions out there on the web at once.

I'm of two minds about how much work to go to in the editing stage. The first version goes, "Hey, look how many people loved this story and/or told you it was too good to be a draft already! Just run a proper spell check and call it done!" The second goes, "This is the longest, most serious project you have ever embarked upon, and it does not deserve to be done by halves. You should be editing this thing to within an inch of its life." It's probably in everyone's best interests if I lean heavily towards option B there.

The editing to-do list so far - cut to shorten this post down a bit )

Now is the part where I ask people to help me add to that list. The support in the feedback on the draft made all the difference at keeping me going, but it's time to put on the concrit goggles and let me know what if anything didn't work so well. Were there any particular scenes that felt off? Any aspects that didn't keep consistent all the way through the story? Any parts that needed fleshing out more, or that dragged on too much? Were there any bad habits or awkward turns of phrase that started grating on your nerves after showing up too many times? If there's anyone reading this who read part way through the story but lost interest at some point, what was it that turned you off? Did the focus shift too much away from Doumeki and Watanuki and on to the other characters in the last section? Was there too much talking and not enough action at the end? Whatever you might've thought needed polishing up, let me know, I'd be keen to get some discussion going on this. What I don't want to do is make anyone feel obligated to read back through the whole thing to find every little spelling error - general impressions are much more use to me at this stage, and whatever you can pull from memory is fine.

If anyone wants to volunteer their services as a beta reader, that'd be great too. Considering the scale of this story, having a couple of different perspectives would be a big help.

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rallamajoop

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