STICKY: Syncope, Table of Contents

…A Mai-HiME (My-HiME) Natsuki/Shizuru fanfic with appearances by old and new cast.

syn·co·pe n.
1. Grammar. The shortening of a word by omission of a sound, letter, or syllable from the middle of the word.
2. Pathology. A brief loss of consciousness caused by a temporary deficiency of oxygen in the brain; a swoon, blackout.

57,600 completed / ???,??? total estimated
Almost 50%

Table of Contents

Oh, hello…

I guess this is just a note to myself. ^^;

I didn’t forget about this but drifted far and away as real life kept happening. At some point, it even felt like I no longer had the right to finish it because too much time had passed.

Then one day, a friend and I were discussing NaNoWriMo. I hadn’t actually done (completed) it but wanted to, while she had already participated once; she asked me if I had ever written fiction before, and at first I didn’t want to admit writing this because fanfics have a particular reputation (as I noted in another post). But she wanted to share her stuff with me for critiques, so I thought it fair to share my one and only fiction attempt, just to show my writing style and how I handled things like dialogue and pacing.

Funny thing happened while re-reading the chapters of Syncope, though (I mean besides that awkward embarrassment and mystified feeling that I actually produced it): I’m now feeling the motivation to complete it. Maybe having someone to share in the whole process will help a lot more in keeping the momentum going. So yeah, I don’t think there is anyone left who is interested in an old anime series’ fanfic, but I want to properly finish this just to say I did.

And it’ll be good practice for NaNoWriMo. Or maybe I’ll actually write a huge chunk for NaNoWriMo.

Just updated WordPress, and it looks all so very shiny and new…

I’m also in grad school and working full time, so everything gets pushed again. Which seriously sucks.

I’ve been trying to learn Scrivener for both Syncope and another personal project. Normally I’m very good at figuring out software without help, but this seems to have a high learning curve… :O But it’s supposed to be awesome for my kind of informational/outlining/chunky pre-writing stuff.

I’ll master it even if it kills me….. . . . . . . >_<


As to the cancer comment I left a while ago…

Said person finished chemotherapy earlier than expected. ^_^
Much stress is now alleviated, though they’re not out of the woods yet.



I finally got around to adding excerpts to the chapter category page, which means if you click on “fic chapters” in the left Categories menu, every chapter post in that list will show the first paragraph. May help in quickly identifying which chapter has what.

In the meantime, I’ve started editing 1.7 and onwards, having finished 1.1 through 1.6 some weeks ago. There are still a lot of little things that I’m letting slip by for now, though—like replacing double-dashes with proper em-dashes, fixing all “smiles don’t speak” technicalities.

Oh, screw THAT.

Apparently there are still registration issues. And PHP errors. Which I don’t get. So I’m opening non-registration comments as well, but requiring the usual name/email/whatever, and of course, I have Akismet installed.

The biggest problem with piecemeal software upgrades across core and plugin apps is that stuff will often break. Hmph. At least I’m pretty sure the contact form still works. I think. Huh.

Squib #5: Letting Go

I have here in my hands (well, figuratively) 2.5 pages of chapter 1.12 text—completed dialogue, narrative, and everything. These pages were a rough draft of the climax and dénouement I had in mind, written even before I outlined the theoretical ending to Part 1. I was that certain of how the first part of “Syncope” would end.

I wrote these pages back in 2006.

A dozen chapters and fifty-odd-thousand words later, my little experimental project had become something a bit different than I expected. First, the unplanned time that it’s been taking to even write “Syncope” has made my style evolution somewhat more pronounced, I think; you see, 2006 was around the time I quit my full-time job and started graduate school. I had some time between those events to waste on fun, which is why updates happened so fast back then. Then school started.

And then the entire American economy crashed, taking half the world with it. We were in the worst recession in a long time, and people were losing their jobs right and left—friends and family were all worried, retirement savings entirely wiped out, etc. (I’m glad no one I knew lost a house, though). I sometimes wonder what kind of demographic was reading/had read my fanfic—did anyone have to worry about rent or their mortgage payments? All of my energy at that point had to go into finding a job; forget writing or reading or anything else I might consider fun, because wasting time on that only filled me with guilt. It was pretty depressing.

It’s not like I ever forgot about the story either, as some may assume, but only because I felt that I didn’t have the right to work on it when I didn’t have all my other very real priorities in order. When I completed 1.10 and 1.11, I felt both satisfied that I had finished something but guilty at the same time. It’s a strange experience.

Second, I started to have different expectations in content, presentation, style, and everything going into each new chapter. The investment evolved: At the beginning, I saw it as a very intriguing experiment just to try out dialogue and narrative voice for the first time, and perhaps my outlook was much more lighthearted. Then as the story gained weight and I improved in the creative execution, I became much more invested not only in the entire process but in the plotting to the first part’s end. That end I had already written.

This actually became a problem.

That precious climax and dénouement became a creative prison, where I began to think that I had to write a certain way to make it there. This is actually one reason why chapters 1.10 and 1.11 took so freakin’ long for me to complete. But this isn’t how it really works, I’ve discovered. My writing style, story development, and plot expectations had changed enough beyond the original 2006 Part 1 ending that, as I sat down to outline chapter 1.12 after finally completing 1.11, it dawned on me that I couldn’t possibly use those 2.5 pages, or at least the climax itself.

It was so utterly cliché and unrealistic.

I’m talking about [headdesk] and [facepalm] levels.

I was actually embarrassed in realizing this and very disappointed. It was quite a personal investment, after all, thinking that this climax and dénouement were great, especially since I had written those pages sometime around chapters 1.1 and 1.2. It felt rather liberating at the time, as I thought I had book-ended my story and thus the middle should be an easy road to pave. Right? But it had taken me this long to finally come to a firm decision about these 2.5 pages.

After five years of clinging to this defined ending, it was time to let it go.

An interesting thing. By this time, I had already sent a half-completed 1.12 draft with outline to my current critiquer [wave], but without the completed 2.5 pages. After I made this firm decision (like, last week) and emailed my critiquer about it, I suddenly felt—get this—relief. It was the weirdest thing, something I definitely didn’t expect. It was as though a stopper that had been gradually pushed into my creative outlet was released. Now I have no climax. I still have the dénouement, however, so not everything was lost. But I get to think creatively again on how to make this work, and there’s a bit more freedom and satisfaction in knowing that I managed to veer away from the pretty awful cliché I almost published. Whew!

(Note to self: THINGS TO EDIT—”smiles do not speak” punctuation fixes.)

Sudden Status

Thanks to zelene2004 for the nudge and nonpresence for being patient and helpful.

Some quick notes:

-Updated the WP software and a whole bunch of plugins, so hopefully any technical issues have been cleared up. Also added a contact form in the About section. With login/reg troubles, I can also manually add users. *It appears WordPress updated to 3.1 only a few days after I originally posted this, so I’m back to updating plugins. If you don’t interact with the website besides just reading, though, I doubt you’d notice anything different. ………@&#^! Well, apparently in updating the theme, I accidentally overwrote the little custom changes I had made at the beginning. Poop.

-Never did complete NaNoWriMo. ^_^; November was just shetty; December wasn’t much better, since I was sick for pretty much the entire month with chain colds and a sinus infection. Fun! Maybe next year.

-I have a love-hate relationship with the last 1.12 chapter, which I’ll explain in another post so instead of bludgeoning it yet again, I think I’ll write another free-standing omake chapter to get my virtual pencil moving. I’m sure I had this idea before, but I’ll make it happen, grawr! It’ll probably be about Nao, her mom, and Shizuru, with appearances by Mai and Natsuki. Or any other ideas other people have—I know there were suggestions somewhere buried among all the comments, but I really don’t remember. Hmm. along with some history of this fanfic.

-I’ve decided to post a teaser chapter or two on More feedback is one way to keep me motivated… I wish I could disable all commenting on FFnet, but oh well. I’ll figure this out a bit later. It seems FFnet doesn’t allow my preferred format of “every other post is notes,” so I’ll just try to direct people to this site.

-I have the entire Mai-HiME series in my possession once again, so time for rewatching. :D (Boy, I’d forgotten how cheesy some of the anime was. And how good the music song was.)

I’d forgotten how much I hate Shiho. And the nun—UUUGH hate the nun! And… Mikoto. She’s… annoying. ^_^; I highly doubt I’ll add any of them to the story, though Mikoto would have the highest chance of appearing, but I don’t think I can pull off her idiosyncratic speech.

Ep 20 comments: I realized there was probably a scene error when Natsuki met with Shizuru and then pulled Yukino away. I find it weird that she would just run back to Shizuru instead of getting into the fray (looking for Mai etc.). And how would Shizuru get her school uniform out of the burning dorm building (first time Kiyohime shows up, saving Natsuki)? Also, I never noticed the First District sunglasses people standing behind chibi-Mikoto in the flashback after she killed gramps.

As of 2/26/2011, I have more fully copyedited chapters 1.1 through 1.6 based primarily on two reviewers’ detailed critiques. I’ll be waiting a bit to get on with 1.7 through 1.11 (mainly because I have this nasty habit of not stopping, which meant that I stayed up until 3:00am Friday night chugging up to this point).


I’m waiting to hear back from another promising job lead, which will hopefully lead to a roughly 1-hour round-trip commute instead of this over-3 right now. Meanwhile, I’ve also started my Nanowrimo project, so other hobbies will come to a halt for this. (Syncope has been smouldering there behind my shoulder, kind of like an evil goblin-possessed pile of paper ready to pounce and burn me to cinders… I’ll get back on that as soon as I force myself to finish Nanowrimo and thus get my pen working again. Yea! It’s basically a new experiment in writing philosophy and style for me.) Moving again in less than a year. I hate moving. And someone very close to me has been diagnosed with cancer.

Moving right along, it seems.

What’s been going on?

Well, I hit a rough patch as my job search stretched on longer and longer than I hoped it would, and with that I got a bit depressed and stopped doing anything creative. (I mean, how can I waste my time inventing stuff when I could be doing something productive that actually pays my rent, bills, and groceries? Psychologically, it just didn’t work at all.) :(

But recently, I was smacked with some great luck finally and hired for contract work. The commute is over 3 hours long round-trip, but shet, I’m gonna make this work. Things are looking up now that I don’t have to worry about what food I can buy this week or next, which means I can feel my creative juices starting to flow again.

I mean, I’m thinking about NaNoWriMo even. That’s crazy.

Sorry for the horrible wait yet again, all two of you who still keep track of this LONG-running fic, but I swear to all that is covered in cinnamon sugar and piping hot from the oven (err, I wasn’t eating fresh snickerdoodles lately, nope), this will get finished. Fecking yeah.