"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ask Kitsu

So at some point I want to have a website about my writing and I want to include this Ask Kitsu section, where it's kind of like a FAQ, only for characters. So far all I have is:

Q: What's your real name?
A: Which one do you want. I have four or five of them.

Helpful, huh?

Once again, this was cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board.

Research and Writing

Also cross-posted from the Den of Shadows writing section.

Ahh, research. I love and hate research. I love it when I'm finding out things I didn't know before and and add some depth to my world, but I hate it when I have to research stuff I don't really care about to make my story seem more realistic.

Like when I first created Kitsu, I did a lot of research on the kitsune mythology, as well as Korean and Chinese fox mythology. I found some good stuff that I was able to incorporate into my character for the game I was in, I found some stuff that was complete crap, and I found some stuff that I would have liked to incorporate, but it didn't fit the world that I was role-playing in, nor does it fit the world that I'm writing her novel in.

For this book, I've researched wormholes, naked singularities, hydroponics, cloning and stem cells, Dyson spheres, astrology/zodiac signs, human population, number of stars in the galaxy, habitable planets, sci fi/futuristic weapons and armor (soldiers of the future), foxes, other wild canines and felines, other people's interpretation of shapeshifters, and anime where one of the characters uses a weapon like Kitsu's. There's probably a lot more, but that's all I can remember for now.

What's kind of weird is that when I look at this list and try to think about all the stuff I actually needed to research, it makes me wonder how I even built this world in the first place, because now all the little details seem to fit so smoothly together.

Though I still have more research to do. Like right now I'm working on this trial scene, and I'm too lazy to research various court room dramas and how different court systems work in different countries, so I can mash something together for this world. I'm thinking that's some research that will wait for the rewrite.

Music and Writing

Once again, this is cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board's writing section.

During my 2006 NaNo, I listened to Evanescence, Linkin Park, and the Grosse Point Blank soundtrack. Then I made the mistake of changing my music and put on "Dead Bodies Everywhere" by Korn. This song seemed fitting at the time, since I was writing about a girl who happened to stumble across a bunch of dead bodies left over by little mutant vampires who killed them, only to turn them into vampires, and for my heroine to find them rising from the dead. But instead of inspiring me to work on that story, I came up with a completely new one about a teen named Nisus who's made fun of for her "wolf eyes", is a dreamwalker (with the ability to control the dreamscape), is probably a closet werewolf (so far, she's the only actual werewolf that exists in my world, I knows there're others, but there just there), has to deal with the authorities questioning her about the dead bodies everywhere that all seemed to be lined to her, all while trying to gain her parents' approval of who and what she has become.

When I'm working on a pirate story, I like to listen to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, and watch the animated Sinbad movie for background noise.

The title for Pai's story is from Metallica. Originally it was going to be Nothing Else Matters. I thought it would be really fun to write a magical girl story (think Sailor Moon or Devil Hunter Yoko) based around that song, but it never seemed to work. So the last time I worked on Pai's story, which was around December 2007/January 2008, I changed the title of the first book to No Leaf Clover for the line "Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel is just the freight train coming your way" because I thought this summed up the Pai's situation in the first book quite well. Though I think book 4 in her series will be titled Nothing Else Matters. Also, I was originally going to have her favorite band be Metallica, but that was before I started listening to Linkin Park. Plus, all my friends (who are also "sort of" in the story) like Linkin Park, so I think it's a much better fit to be her favorite band.

As to Kitsu's story. Well, I've been working on it so long, that I listen to whatever kind of music I feel like listening to at the time. Like recently, I was in this sort of anti-Linkin Park and anti-Evanescence mood, so I listened to Alanis Morissette, Black Eyed Peas, and Blink 182.

One thing that I find interesting is that listening to Evanescence, I am almost certain to find a song that fits at least one character in each of the different series I have. For example, I think "Haunted" fits Kitsu's and Kaitou's relationship from Kaitou's perspective, whereas "Taking Over Me" fits their relationship from Kitsu's perspective. "Tourniquet" fits Ayako's relationship with the Angel of Death (from my 2006 NaNo). I think "Everybody's Fool" may actually be a good character song for Kitsu (though I think she would disagree with me). And "Whisper" is a good character song for Rose, Pai's older sister who's one of the main characters in my Hunter series.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sasori's Challenge

I was trying to figure out the ending to Kitsune, like the little details that make everything tie up neatly, and to help with that, I tried doing a character interview with Sasori. He's the character who basically inserted himself into my main character's background and insisted that the plot of this second draft feature him as the villain/primary antagonist. Instead, he basically said the only way he would tell me what I want to know is if I wrote it. And since I'm kind of working on a deadline, he challenged me to write the last 45,000 words of Kitsune in the next 12-13 days. Lucky me.


76124 / 120000 words. 63% done!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New Word Count Meter

I'm still deciding if I want to finish the last 45,000 words of Kitsune during April, or if I want to finally write the screenplay for Standard Issue Vampire for Script Frenzy. Though I suppose it depends on whether or not my husband and I get around to making our lists of vampire rules, vampire hunter rules, and werewolf rules before then. Part of me says I should finish Kitsune, but the other part of me also really wants to get the screenplay written, since I've been talking about doing that for almost as long as I've been trying to write Kitsu's story (including the first draft Butterfly Kiss).

My progress meters.


75040 / 120000 words. 63% done!

Standard Issue Vampire

0 / 120 pages. 0% done!

Friday, March 21, 2008


This is how my week went. These are cross-posted from the writing chatter section of the Den of Shadows message board.


So while I'm having some difficulties with Kitsune, I've been talking to my husband about working on a collaboration. Which of course for the one we really want to do (or more specifically the one I really want to work on), we need to know a lot more about Shinto than what we know, so that one's kind of on the back burner again.

But one that's a lot more feasible for us to work on features Rosaline DeLiney, Paranormal Investigator (she even has a badge), and Tommy Thompson, the guy in Witness Protection who makes the mistake of answering Rosaline's Help Wanted Ad that was written in the form of a Personal Ad. Now poor Tommy has to suffer through Rosaline's paranormal investigations that should only exist in really, really bad B-rate horror movies. (You know the ones that are so bad they shouldn't even exist so people like me who find watching said films quite enjoyable, even if they are just as painful, don't buy them.) Their first adventure is titled Tank Riding Zombies.

Hopefully the last of my rewrites will be done tomorrow so I can send the first three chapters of Kitsune to my friend to read. And then I should get to work on the synopsis.

Only my brain is shouting, "But . . . But . . . Tank riding zombies!!!!"


That sounds like two of my characters. Where they hate each other (mainly because he tried to kill her and she retaliated), but they are drawn to each other on a level that neither of them understands or even *wants* to.

But I sort of got over writing sex scenes when I wrote a scene between these two characters detailing their issues of not knowing whether they're going to try killing each other or having sex. And when I turned it in for the class, everyone (except for me and my husband), even the teacher, thought they were having sex. One girl even said it was the hottest sex scene she had ever read.

And my only comment was, "But . . . they're not even having sex."

* * *

So I've gone from wanting to write something funny, which mostly means I'll probably participate in Script Frenzy this year so I can finally write the Standard Issue Vampire script.

To finally finishing the first scene between Kitsu and Kaitou in my novel. I'm really excited about how I redid the scene, since it makes the characters seem so much more alive, and it gets right to the heart of their issues.

Now all I have left to do is rewrite the fight scene between Sasori and Garnet, and I'll finally be ready to send it to my friend to read. (Even though I meant to send it to her Saturday or Sunday at the latest, but now she'll get it Tuesday or Wednesday. I just hope she doesn't take too long to read it.)


yttar wrote:
"To finally finishing the first scene between Kitsu and Kaitou in my novel. I'm really excited about how I redid the scene, since it makes the characters seem so much more alive, and it gets right to the heart of their issues.

"Now all I have left to do is rewrite the fight scene between Sasori and Garnet, and I'll finally be ready to send it to my friend to read. (Even though I meant to send it to her Saturday or Sunday at the latest, but now she'll get it Tuesday or Wednesday. I just hope she doesn't take too long to read it.)"

Yeah, it's like, what, five days later, and I still have to rewrite the fight scene between Sasori and Garnet.

But hey, at least everything else in chapters 1 - 3 looks good, and I've added in a few extra details to show more of the characters and the world in which they live. I just can't seem to get around to writing that fight scene. It doesn't help that I spend hours playing solitaire trying to win one stupid game.

Today's a holiday here in Japan (yes, they consider the Vernal/Spring Equinox a holiday), so I get to spend the day with my husband, which will hopefully allow me to finally write that fight scene.

* * *

I used to find ninth grade physical science class to be the perfect time to write. It helped that I had two friends who sat near me so they could keep me informed about what was actually going on in class. Though one time I wasn't so smart on the uptake, and ended up embarrassing myself. Once the problem was fixed, I just went back to writing and ignored everybody else.

Though I thought that if I were to ever get that book published (which is unlikely since parts of it are missing - as in lost for good), I always planned on writing an author's acknowledgement (or whatever it's called) that went along the lines of "I'd like to think my ninth grade physical science teacher for not getting to mad when I spent more time in his class writing than paying attention to science. I sort of regret it now, especially that I love writing science fiction and really wish I had a better understanding of physics." Only it would sound a lot better than that.


I finally finished revising my first three chapters and sent them on to my friend. Now I'm impatiently waiting her feedback.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Biology Fun Follow Up

My husband's a really wonderful geek, especially when it comes to writing science fiction. Whenever I have a problem dealing with futuristic technology, he usually has some modern day equivalent of what I'm looking for.

So when I presented him with my problem of do the women in my galaxy actually get pregnant anymore, he told me about some fancy shower where it will tell you your weight, fat content, and all those other health concerns. And since my book takes place in the far future, you could assume that this fancy shower would also be able to detect the change in hormones for when a woman is pregnant.

Though I think it could be weired to wake up one morning, take a shower, only to have to say, "Oh, by the way, you're four days pregnant. You should consider going to the doctor today or tomorrow."

It could work. But in a way I still like the idea of an all test tube baby society. Though actually, I just realized that wouldn't work for this world, because of this short story I want to write. And I think adding a pregnant woman to a society where the women don't get pregnant would be a lot more shocking social situation than what I initially intended or even want. Though, on the other hand, the added shock of the situation could make the story even better.

And I thought I had finally solved this problem.

All it tells me is that I should let it sit for a while. And that I should write the short story that takes place in this far future before deciding which method of creating new life fits better.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Biology Fun

I started today off by telling myself that I was going to finish editing chapters 1 - 3 of Kitsune so I can send them to my friend this afternoon for a second critique, since I want a third opinion. And well, I spent a good hour looking up stem cells, cloning, in-vitro fertilization, etc. on the internet. (Actually, I only visited a few sites too.)

See, I took a human hormone class in college because I needed 3 more credits and didn't have the prerequisites to take human biology or cell biology. As it turned out, I was glad I did. Mainly because my teacher said something about stem cells and cloning and how if you used a person's stem cells to just grow them a new whatever they needed, you would never have to worry about the body rejecting it as being foreign (though of course he said it in a lot better words than those, but he has a PhD and I only have a BS so it's understandable).

Anyway, like most writers, this got my brain thinking.

At the time I had been working on the first draft of Kitsune, back when it was still called Butterfly Kiss. But there's a lot of stuff that's held over between the two, namely the world (as expected).

The idea that I got from my teacher was what if everyone if this far future galaxy of mine had their stem cells stored in a giant stem cell bank. "Oh, hey, you're going blind in your right eye? Here, let's fix that." "You lost your arm in battle, we'll grow you a new one." And since they could go back and get each person's stem cells, they wouldn't have to worry about cloning a new ear or something on a mouse's back (poor mouse). Nor, as I mentioned above, would they have to worry about their body rejecting it.

I thought, hey, that's perfect. Since I'm dealing with a human character who was born in the galaxy (so he would have his stem cells on file) who's tracking down his changeling, who's stem cells wouldn't be on file. I thought all my work was taken care of.

Silly me.

This whole easy fix has been bugging me lately, mainly because deep down I know the science is off, and as someone with a BS in biology, that should be a problem.

So I decided to spend my morning doing some research on the internet just to refamiliarize myself with the biology involved. And as I thought, the specific type of stem cells that my people store are the embryonic ones, which are also the only ones that can differentiate into *any* cell in the body (though I think there's some debate about whether or not this is true for ones you can get out of umbilical cords).

But the problem I was having was how do they get these stem cells to have on record?

Since the embryonic ones need to be taken when the embryo is only 4 - 5 days old, I couldn't very well have a bunch of women who think they're pregnant (and to have all the women in the galaxy know after just five days of having sex? it seemed a bit unrealistic to me) go to some doctor to say, "Hey, extract the stem cells from my baby." Not likely.

So of course the other option was, does everyone in the galaxy have a baby through in-vitro fertilization?

Or, and this is the new one for today, since everyone has their stem cells on file, do women even get pregnant anymore? Or is the the galaxy populated by a bunch of test-tube babies?

Which, if this were the case, it would put a whole new outlook on their "status" in the world. I already have it that humans consider themselves to be the dominant intelligent species in the galaxy and have sort of "enslaved" the alien species (whom they refer to as Servants). But now, since the humans don't really like dealing with the Servants, not much is known about them. Nor are all their stem cells on file. Which means more Servants are made when the Servants have sex with each other, or however else their species reproduces.

But the thing I find most interesting about this, is that in today's world, or at least maybe more so the today of the last couple decades when cloning and in-vitro fertilization were newer, people made this way had the potential of being looked down upon and not considered "real" humans because they weren't made "naturally". And then in the galaxy, all humans are created in-vitroly (and I don't even know if women get pregnant and have birth anymore). I even think it works where the people who aren't produced in-vitroly would be considered less than human. Almost like in Gattacca, where the main character is looked down upon for being a "love child" and produced the old fashioned way without his parents going to genetic counciling first.

Of course, there's still a bit of time before I need to have these details fully worked out, like when I finally finish book 1 (Kitsune) and start book 2, when this detail about my main character *not* having her stem cells on file becomes a big deal.

In the meantime, I'll probably spend a couple more days not doing what I should be doing because the inaccuracy of my biology is bothering me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Revisions and Natsuke's Backstory

The first 3 chapters of Kitsune went from 38 pages to 19 pages. I'm still not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, I knew a lot of stuff needed to be chopped, I just didn't realize I was chopping so much. My husband read through it last night and said he liked the relationship between Kitsu and Natsuke better than it was the first time around. So that's good. But still, when I think about the rest of the novel, and how I'm aiming for this draft to be 110,000 words, but if the rewrite of the whole novel goes the same way chapters 1 - 3 did, that means I'd be chopping the novel to being only 55,000 words.

I've been kind of afraid to read my husband's comments, but I hope they're encouraging. Though he was laughing at some parts, and other parts made him think of Futurama, and one of the deleted scene gags for Supernatural, season 1.

<2 days later.>

My husband left surprisingly few comments on my first 3 chapters, which frightens me more than makes me happy. He said he liked it, but wasn't sure if it was him being biased. Which means I need to find someone else to read it for me. So maybe I'll have to e-mail one of my friends in MN and see if he's not too busy with his own school work to give my writing a proper critique. Not that my husband's was necessarily bad, just that he spent more time enjoying the story and forgetting to critique than he spent critiquing.

I've also come to the realization that I need to write out a crap-load of Natsuke's backstory, or at least figure out the main details. Since Kitsune takes place in the same world as most of my stories, just really far in the future, I've always kind of glossed over the details of when the human world and the supernatural world completely split from each other. Originally, it was all tied into my Hunter series, so I didn't really want to deal with it until I actually sat down to write the series plotline. However, since then, I've realized that this major historical even (for Kitsu's time) has to be separated from all my other modern day stories.

It doesn't help that yesterday while my husband were shopping while not exactly in the mood to shop (since we forgot the money at home), I realized that Natsuke's past-self, who's the major player in the Split, had apparently accumulated so much power that the gods thought he was a risk to their position and power. So naturally, this realization intrigues me, since I never knew his past self was that powerful. Or that one *human* (albeit he's a mage) could pose such a threat to the gods. And so they conspired against him.

I want to find out more. And I sort of need to, but I really need to finish Kitsune, or at least revising chapters 1 - 3 and writing/revising the plot outline and synopsis, before I delve into this. But I'm still pretty excited.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Kitsune . . . I'm Back

So I'm finally back to working on Kitsune. We parted ways around December and now we're back together. Hopefully, we'll finish it this time.