Stage 1: Rough -- This is a chapter or story in its rawest form, rife with spelling and grammatical errors. The early chapters of Taking Sights suffer from many errors because I didn't have anyone else beta for me back then. The one positive thing about Stage 1 is that the chapter is complete. Finishing shit is a big deal, y'know?
Stage 2: Gold Beta -- This is a chapter or story after its been proofread by at least two other people. Most if not all of the spelling and grammar errors should be corrected at this point. Any egregious story problems or OOCness will be also called out. Chapter 5-A of Facing Fearful Odds, for instance, underwent extensive revision after plot issues were pointed out to me.
Stage 3: Omega Edit -- This is a chapter or story that's proofread for sentence structure, pacing, and word choice. It's very nitty-gritty stuff and usually takes a long time to do. Chapters 1 and 2 of Facing Fearful Odds are currently undergoing this, and it's made quite a bit of difference.
Stage 4: Authorial Edit -- Once a story's completely in the can, an Authorial Edit happens. This is me reading over the whole story I've written and asking myself, "Did I tell this story the best way I could? Or can this sentence/paragraph/scene be improved?". Dialogue and scenes throughout the story are altered in order to tighten things up and unnecessary bits are trimmed off.
Stage 5: Final Proof -- Essentially a repeat of Gold Beta, intended to catch an errors on my part that pop up during the Authorial Edit.
And after all this stuff is done, the story -- of a much higher quality than it would otherwise be -- gets posted! Yayyyy! And even better, updates are regular and the whole story's done, so there's no fear of it turning into deadfic! Bigger Yayyyy!!
Once I finish with Book 1 of Facing Fearful Odds, it'll be time to sit down and finish Book 1 of Taking Sights. The speedy process of writing FFO has given me new insight into the problems I've had with the recent chapters of Taking Sights. As I'm sure you've noticed, the update rate for Takings Sights has slowed dramatically this year. Partly, this is due to the fact I can't write a chapter under 15000 words to save my life. It is also due in large part, however, because of the story problems I've discovered.
At it's core, Taking Sights is supposed to be the journey of Gendo Ikari and how he deals with trying to make amends with his life. These tasks range from saving the world from his own plots to convincing Rei of the value of her own life. The MOST important task is repairing his relationship with Shinji. The problem for me, the writer, is that that plot line resolved itself fairly early on. Gendo tried to manipulate Shinji, Shinji sniffed out his father's true intents, and any chance for future reconciliation went down the gutter. End of story.
The thing is, Shinji doesn't have a whole lot to do with the story now. That's why he's pretty much vanished into the background and why Asuka's taken Shinji's place as the lead pilot character. Because the reader feels a sense of danger for Asuka -- she's the one main cast member (in a general Evangelion sense) that Gendo's absolutely willing to sacrifice. He's counting on her dying, the only question is how to make the most use of her. And out of the main cast members, Asuka is the only one not directly connected to Gendo Ikari's bullshit. Shinji, Rei, Misato, Ritsuko, Fuyutsuki, Keel... their lives have all revolved around Gendo at some point. But not Asuka. She's the foreign element, and a symbol of how Gendo is still a selfish bastard willing to do horrible, immoral things to anyone he doesn't value.
Shinji and Rei are the offspring of his past life, but Asuka's ultimate fate will be the child post-time travel Gendo fathers. It's also why Asuka has become the second main character of Taking Sights. Unless Gendo can find some place in his heart for someone who has no value to him, there's no hope for the rest of the human race. Gendo Ikari is still the same man, just with different priorities, until he proves otherwise.
So how does this tie in with Facing Fearful Odds? Because while these problems will continue as we muddle through to the end of Book 1 of Taking Sights, I've been thinking long and hard about how Book 2 is going to play out. And now I have a plan to make Book 2 more character-driven and cohesive than Book 1 has been.
While Gendo will remain the main(est) character in Book 2, he'll be joined by a new co-main character -- and it isn't Asuka. The Second Child's current arc will climax with the explosive finale of Book 1, and Book 2 will carry all the cast members in a radically new direction. It'll be intense, I promise you.
Now I just need to write it.
Facing Fearful Odds -- Chapter 4 writing totals (IN PROGRESS)
JULY 5, 2009
8:49 pm -- 420 words (start)
9:19 pm -- 875 words (455)
9:51 pm -- 1,327 words (452)
10:22 pm -- 1,702 words (375)
JULY 6, 2009
9:51 am -- 1,738 words (start)
10:21 am -- 2,176 words (438)
10:56 am -- 2,593 words (417)
1:27 pm -- 3,006 words (413)
3:15 pm -- 3,710 words (704)
3:56 pm -- 4,325 words (615)
9:21 pm -- 4,919 words (594)
9:55 pm -- 5,346 words (427)
11:50 pm -- 6,060 words (714)
First, let me say I'm not going to publish anything until one of my current trio of ongoing stories (TS/IFC/DADA) is done. I don't want to be one of those FFnet authors that starts a million stories and never finishes them. But I do look to the future. Sometimes proto-fics I have on file wither on the vine, like my Rei-centric romance/mystery The Stranger, and sometimes, in the mode of Viva Pinata, I cannibalize several of my stories together to create a single, better fanfic. "Doctor Who and the Defense Against the Dark Arts" originally started out as two difference stories: one was a DW/HP crossover, the other was (I Am Not Making This Up, God help me) a Doctor Who / Evangelion crossover.
I know, I know.
It was called Doctor Who and the Children in Need and parts of it might even see the light of day... when the Sun turns fat and red. It started 10 and Rose showing up during the 12th Angel attack, hijinks ensue, and the Doctor ended up being blackmailed by Gendo into becoming NERV's scientific adviser a la UNIT. There was no real plot to it and I had no plan for an ending. But my DW/HP story was stronger overall, especially with the metafiction component to it, and I knew exactly how it would end. Plus I'll take a story with Donna over Rose any day.
So I killed Doctor Who and the Children in Need, looted its corpse, and stuck the best bits into Doctor Who and the Defense Against the Dark Arts.
But I digress. The title of this post is about children. And short skirts. And getting roped into another longass fanfic project.
AFTER I finished one of my trio of stories (or my secret Evangelion lemon I post under another name) I'm moving onto a new longass fanfic project. I'm not sure which but it'll either be in Doctor Who or Harry Potter. Either way it'll be a gender-bender.
See, a couple months ago in a blog post here I mentioned an idea for girl!Harry fanfic. I wrote out a detailed plot outline, the beginning and end, as well as a few key scenes. While I have a few problems with formatting -- like does the internet really need another rewrite of the seven books? -- my biggest concern is writing the children as children.
Sometimes, well, really, most of the time... the cast of HP aren't written very well for their ages (in fanfiction). Usually this comes from either the author not being very good at characterization or from the author wanting to make
This latter phenomenon is not entirely unknown in Evangelion fanfiction.
But then fanfic like Stealing Harry comes along and just smacks you upside the head and you realize you're reading children as children, not as mini-adults. And if I'm going to make the "Jamie Potter Series" any decent I need to write like Sam the Storyteller here, because his characterization is simply amazing. And...
...I've lost my train of thought. Damn it! This is why I don't blog. I rant and it morphs into something pointless. Essentially, I suck at writing kids and I need to practice.
Ah well. Back to work on Taking Sights....
Oh, and Happy New Year!