Cuteness Overlord Progress Report (animal cruelty trigger warning)

So, this is pretty late, but I thought it would be nice for me to chart my progress for my current work (actually my debut). Each day when I finish, I intend to come here and basically say what happened and how much work went on. This oughtta help both me and you, if you read these and begin drooling at the prospect of picking up a pen.

Ah, and please refrain if you like animals, since this is meant to be a light-hearted zombie apocalypse tale with telepathic bloodthirsty cute animals instead of zombies. There are a lot of flying kitten brains. I'll add no real details but still, it would be a bad work for an animal rights activist to encourage, I think.

The story itself can be summed in this exchange
"It didn't work," concluded Carl.
"No. Apparently, you can't be that stubborn. You can't change the world to fit you."



  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    So yesterday I did a bit too much and I think the quality was slightly lacking. Still, I made up for a few days' work at 5k words, and ended it on a good note (heh). Carl was playing the piano as an experiment and king Grimm Tinkermane burst into the room, furious, half an hour before he usually called for a stop for music. This told Carl that the king's tolerance extended to QUALITY, and confirmed some ongoing suspicions.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    I wrote around 3k words today. I'd prefer not to keep going since quality is still a concern. Carl has his confrontation with the royal couple today, and tomorrow the matter should resolve. Here are two short excerpts:
    (Queen Grana Tinkermane is a badass)
    It only took a green-flash of a second and before Carl had even realized, the queen knelt on the ground, pinning them both, her forest dress and ballet shoes undisturbed. She had each of their heads on each hand, and ground them into the carpet. Larry tried to push himself up, to no avail.

    (Stephen is a sad, sad widower)
    As they carried Vanessa out, Stephen said to the queen, “You know, once you lose someone, the happiest times become your memories of them, but sometimes night is dark and time long. Every small mistake you made, and their every annoyed second; it’s terrible. If something happens, you’ll regret the bad seconds. You’ll regret them so much.”
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    3.5 k words
    I feel like I'm overdoing it with Stephen's sadness, but being a widow is hard and the guy does connect to multiple life lessons and to the scars on Vanessa's arms (Vanessa "Stingray" Reighleigh, a cheerful captain in a short sleeved vest who has wrists riddled with scars. Every so often she goes off to be alone and Carl doesn't know why)

    I might need to really trim this particular arc. Today's excerpt is the battle:
    (the battle)

    The scientist breathed fresh September air on the creaking roof and looked. He could see the animals coming, close enough to read his mind. He imagined himself where the Drove approached. He could hear quacking and hissing, as well as the usual barks and meows and whines.

    Where he saw himself, Carl spread many images, halting a quarter of the animals as they attempted to attack the illusions he saw. The rest of the animals Grimm rode through, riding on his mule. He swung an axe around and directed his soldiers expertly.

    As the barbarian king roared like a lion, Carl heard another roar and saw another, more crude battle in the distance. Every so often, an explosion sent objects flying, but so too did the blows of Grimm and Grana Tinkermane.

    Carl wondered if Merlin could have felt like he did. He felt like a magician, even though it was the animals that were telepathic, and they were simply tricked by his imagination, a simple discharge of neurons. It didn’t matter.

    Kittens and puppies died by the dozen, and blood sent high rained down onto the combatants.
    Husband and wife competed, trying to out-shout one another, and the Drove fell before their might. Carl watched, satisfied.

  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    edited April 2017
    3.5 K words. I wrote them pretty early while waiting for my classes, and one particular part feels awfully childish. I'm asking for opinions, but a big part of me thinks I should turn it slightly humorous to counteract the effect. Today our group left Pamelot and met Molty Mole the great and prestigious. If I get enough juice in me, maybe I'll push towards 5k. Would make it possible to finish this week.

    (this is silly)
    Larry waved at them to stop, but Vanessa commanded, “Carl, apologize to Larry.”
    Who did she think she was, bossing him around?
    “Carl, apologize now.”
    He was the brightest mind in the world.
    “I don’t apologize!” he stubbornly exclaimed, and her fist clenched. Carl closed his eyes. Something bumped into his chest, but no blow came. When the scientist dared glance, he noticed brick-built Larry standing between him and Vanessa, arms out in a pacifying gesture.
    For his part, Molty Mole scratched at his beard. “I… apologize for bringing up a sensitive matter,” he offered.
    Larry only gave him a small smile, and then he led his Captain out of the room. “That cocky-“ she said loudly as she was ushered out. Then went Stephen, clearly impatient.
    As Paul left, he fixed Carl with a disappointed gaze. “It would have made him happy, you know,” he offered.
    And then the door closed, and Carl sighed as he turned.
    “Same old Carl Shan,” the old man chuckled.

    (Edit: I couldn't stop so ended up writing 5k words today. There were breaks so the quality seems okay)
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Classes, classes, classes.
    2.7 k (hopefully three by the next fifteen minutes) today. Our group finally left Molty Mole the great and prestigious. I should add his real name somewhere one more time, just to strengthen the connection for when it's used later.

    And then, honestly feeling like children playing soldier, boots stomped until they left steel and struck dirt once more. Resolute, they were, almost as if their owners were leaving to scold a bully who’d done one of them wrong. Only the guns dispelled that illusion.

    something feels weirdly Gaiman-esque in that paragraph... It's waaaaay not the quality. I think his sentences are sorta that long.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    2k words. There's still time but I feel oddly tired. Hope I keep going later. I don't actually want to say what happened in the story today.

    Darkness shifted. It did so slowly, like a fog before breath, but it did so nonetheless, and Carl began to see the slope their feet traced upwards. Ocean scents drifted into his nose, and Vanessa sniffed. Then he heard whistles and knew them to be near the tunnel's exit.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    A conundrum. I've only written 2.7 K words so far today, but I just reached the big reveal. A part of me really wants to keep going until the climax and into the epilogue, but it would also mean I'd need to stop somewhere weird.

    I'm looking for an excerpt, but it feels like everything I wrote today is in spoiler territory.
    (The building)
    Moonlight filtered through a dusty window, but Vanessa took out a torch and turned it on. Its beam illuminated heaps of clothing in a corner. Larry sniffed at the dust, then sneezed.
    Acho, acho, cho, replied the building.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Ugh... such a terrible writing day. I barely got through 500 words so far.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Not done for today, but I already know which excerpt I want to use.

    There are many reasons why people hate cats. The furry animals can cause allergies, or scratches, or both. They seem to hate cucumbers, and enjoy to intrude on people’s sleep with their meows. Sometimes, they are downright mean, dropping picture frames and ruining curtains. They show off and at times their pretentious attempts at grace end in quite stupid falls. Boxes are never safe around cats, and neither is human food. Look at the way they slurp milk, it’s horrid.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    I just had to share this. I'm at 3k words now. I don't really want to finish today. I like writing this, and I'm only at 62k words. I wanted 70.

    She reached to her left and turned a device on. Carl listened to the words. It was chinese, the cursed language. He’d tried to learn chinese, but all of his one hour of studying didn’t do enough good at the first class. It had been a black cloud over his learning abilities ever since.
    “I… I don’t know what they’re saying,” he said in a low voice.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    I think I'm done. Well, I have a half draft, even though it's only 62k words. I guess it will need fluffing. This is weird. I have a debut novel. It's there.

    Every author friend I know has said I need to leave the thing for at least a month. Guess I'll read the Sandman comics, maybe An Abundance Of Katherines, and then I'll work on editing Cuteness Overlord.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    I wrote a disclaimer today. I felt the book needed one. I also played around with making a fake cover. I actually don't know how I'll go about getting an actual cover, but this helped pass the time.

    You might hate this book. There are a few possible reasons for that.
    If you’re English, I dare say the mispronounced…everythings will cause a serious case of grinding teeth. I visited London once while on transit, but that’s really it, so I decided to play it safe and go out of my way to change the names. You know, invoke a sense of fantasy.
    Scientists may also find reason to dislike this work. It’s chock-full of half-right trivia and fully-wrong science. Yogurt is not useful when inventing a time machine and I urge you not to try, lest it actually work.
    Some readers enjoy a pure, heartfelt protagonist, but Carl Shan is anything but. He’s arrogant, selfish, and far too sure of his own intelligence. If you happen to be a John Green, you’ll hate Carl with the passion of a thousand fiery suns.
    It’s not even that funny. Pick up “The Gunslinger” or “Coraline” or something. “The Color of magic”. Did you know you can get an EPub of "Catcher in The Rye" for free these days?
    That said, I hope you enjoy “Cuteness Overlord”.
    And oh god, don’t even think about reading it if you’re an animal rights activists.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    You know what an issue is? It's writing English characters when you write in American english. How do you grammar? It's weird writing 'van' in the descriptive bits then 'lorry' during dialogue.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    I've been reading Sandman comics and partying and trying to help uncle Andie with his Grimea research. He's complimenting the world he'll write 'Adventus' in. That guy works too much and loves magic waaaaaaaaaay too much. I mean, come on man. three books in one year? He's crazy.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    What else is new? Finished the sandman comics. I'll fit in a couple of books before getting to work on the editing. An abundance of Katherines, I guess. And maybe Necroville, that one's indie.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    ugh. Two whole weeks until I can start rewriting and editing. I've been thinking and I wonder if I should set in stone a few of the metaphors in the work.

    Like, in Cuteness Overlord, Carl's mysterious hair rises with his curiosity and flops with boredom. You know, because the is close to the brain. His lab-coat flutters when he runs, slapped around by the wind, and he always adjusts it when proud of himself. Because it's close to the heart. When something bad happens, he checks it for stains. His workboots always thump when he's determined. That sort of thing.

    Problem is, right now his hair will also fall in shame, or fear. There are a few exceptions to the general rule, and I wonder if I remove the exceptions. Then again, should metaphors really be THAT precise? maybe it would be too corny. I don't know.

    I know for sure that I need more trivia. Carl starts listing random trivia in his head when he's nervous, and it lessens after he learns to meditate, but I think I lessened it too much.

    Waiting two more weeks till I can work will be agony. Gotta wait that month, man.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    My creative muscles are itching. I should be reading today, but I really really want to write a story about legendary heroes and monsters playing around to play a board game called "Humans and Homes", where it's an amazing world of no magic or power.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Finally! Let's get to work on the editing.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    By the by, Homes and Humans almost got accepted in Storyteller magazine. They want to give me feedback in order to fix it.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Oh, and the editing went fine. I worked through around 15 pages and changed around some metaphors and descriptions. Should be done with this round of editing in ten days. Then I will have a proper first draft. Clarity is an issue. Sometimes I wrote things and they were obvious in my head, but reading back I didn't understand and had to add a clarifying modifier.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Okay, editing your book is weird. Anyhow, I've done around 12 pages today, so 8 more. I felt disoriented during the city escape, which is kind of good... but I don't know. I might need to add more atmosphere to it.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Halfway done. I switched a lot of things around and found a spot to add a short chapter if I really wanted to hit 70k words. I like the little time skip there, though. I think my favorite line today was:

    Heh, silly me. Warriors and mother are the same thing. That’s what they’d say back home. Only, mothers are prettier.

    It shows Carl's hidden okay side while also exposing that sort of tiny bit of misogyny. He doesn't mean it that way, but the sentence could mean "Women make better mothers than warriors."

    Then again, I don't know if that's it. It could also mean, "Mothers are cooler than warriors."

    Anyhow, I like that sentence because of the first part.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    And done. I now have a first draft, which I've sent to one beta-reader and two friends. I still think the witches of the coven shoould have a reveal at the end (their weapons explain a lot.) I also now have a the guide up for some advanced formatting.

    Lastly, I am still a little unhapy with the dialogue positions in some places and how rapidly the story ends. Might need one extra chapter between 5 and 6, lengthen the battle of Pamelot, and spend some extra time with Molty Mole the Great and Prestigious.

    There are places where the flow seems a bit too rapid, but that has a little to do with my writing style. Lots of short sentences. If I want 70k words I am now confident I can hit that limit. I'll see what the betas say first though.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    The beta reader is going through it fast. Granted, this means a mere cursory glance at the technical stuff, but she's giving valuable feedback. As far as I understand, she was on page 47/116 around this time yesterday. Then again, she said that her family is suddenly moving houses, so she might take a while with the rest.

    In the meantime, I've adopted a page approach to the second stage of fixing. I hop around and adjust whatever is on the page I land on. Mostly dialogue structure, word repetitions, and some metaphor stuff. It's going well. By the by, if any nerdfighters want to beta-read, I'd be happy to send a word copy.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Using the feedback from Homes and Humans, I am going to try and fix it then resubmit. With Cuteness Overlord, I know what I'm going to do today. I've used to structure "something something, and..." around 800 times. It's wrong grammar but a usable technique. But 800 times way is too much.

    I'll try to half that number by rewriting every other usage. I can use "while", "as", "during" ";" and could also split things into multiple sentences. It should really help the reading flow.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Just terrible work. I'm down to 700 times. It's coming along. On the plus side, my quest for betas has been successful. I have 6 and one finished the book already. Got some good feedback.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Ah, about the metaphors. I'm pretty happy with the hair, coat, boots and hydra. My first beta reader got the emotional responses and the motifs I intended, even though she didn't actually figure them out.

    She did take the hydra a little too literally though, so I added another metaphor in the parts before Carl embraces the hydra.

    In the first quarter/third, a put a slight emphasis on his thoughts being an imp wreaking havoc through his home. Thus I hope when the readers meet the hydra, they realize it is just a personification of Carl becoming able to think of many things at once.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    I'm almost done with changing the sentence structures to have less 'blah blah, and blah blah.'
    At page 80/117, I'm down to 400 out of an original 800, which is good. I think by the end it'll be closer to 200 instances. While I think that sentence structure suits my style, variety creates a sense of nuance.
  • MikeAaronohnoMikeAaronohno Posts: 59
    Done. I want to do the same thing with buts now, since there are 350. But it's better to relax, read, and wait for some feedback.
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