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Author Topic: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)  (Read 9987 times)

nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2020, 11:27:10 PM »

Woah, blast from the past!

So I've come back and decided to take on Wednesdays for an update day (seems like no one is using it and Wednesdays are what really started this whole thing, more on that below). So before I talk about my newest update, I wanted to talk about why I started writing again.

Fellow writers, you will understand that sometimes you are carrying on with your day and a character or plot (a Rose plot bunny, if you will) will pop up and say, "Hey."

Right around the time AJ started on DWTS and Nick first appeared on Masked Singer in a crocodile suit (I'm really glad this will never be a spoiler here), this persistent little guy (https://ibb.co/GxDQhG3) popped into my head and said, "Hey, remember that thing you knew in PBox, but no one else knew in PBox unless they were really good at extrapolating from incomplete information? Even me?" "I remember." "Let's talk about that." "What do you want to talk about? It's been a decade." "Let's write it." "I don't think anyone will read it, it's been a decade." "Who cares about reading it? Let's write it." "Nick, we're writing for free, reader engagement is currency. Also a decade." "Time-schmime, money-schmoney, let's write it." "Nick..." "Let's write it."

And this went on for about a week until he finally said, "I'm still here after a decade waiting for you tell this story. Isn't that a good enough reason to write it?" And I thought about it. "Well, okay, Nick, since you're here, let's write it. But first we have to fix some problems in PBox..." "Fine, let's go fix them... And then we write!"

So before I started fixing those problems (like I remembered how much I hated chapter 10, 11, and 12 for instance), I went back and read the whole story and in that process remembered all the love I had for the characters and their journey and the original complete story I had wanted to tell about them, even though some bits needed some TLC (like chapter 10/11/12). "Nick, you were right, we should write it." "I was right! Yay! Time to write!"

So I sat down and started writing, but it was just bits and pieces at first, parts that seemed interesting, snippets of dialogue, or notes to research later if I ended up still writing. I even drew the crudest map of Safaiananpou on my phone with my finger in Google keep (it is so bad and squiggly, calling it bad and squiggly does not do the description justice for how bad it actually is). Then Nanowrimo approached... And in a year of self improvement, I stared at it and said, "Nick, let's try to write something every day." "We're writing again! Every day!"

So on November first, I went back to the beginning and wrote and wrote and wrote and edited in those snippets where they belonged, all while my tiny cheerleader supported me. I thought, maybe I can write 50,000 words, but my only real goal was to write something down each day rather than aiming for the suggested 1,667 words (like on election night, I only wrote 5 words, but I wrote them and celebrated that). "We did it, Nick!" "Yay!" And every day, I wrote and we celebrated, whether it was a 133 word day or a 5,726 word day (that only happened once).

To be honest, Nick actually previously came tapping (with a similar conversation, just substitute "five years" where "decade" is) when the real Nick was on DWTS (there's something great about new Backstreet on TV once a week, it's like the 90s). However, while I had some motivation, I had no real ideas at the time after I wrote about ten pages of half of the then first, second, and fourth planned chapters (the content of these original chapters is still there, but quicker paced in this final version as chapters one and two), then walked away hoping my little buddy Nick knew I just didn't have it anymore.

But as you've noticed, and I mentioned, he's a persistent little guy (he always has been), and this time, Nick poked, nagged, and chewed the scenery until I wrote what was interesting ("Fill it in later," he said) while waiting on ideas for completing the blanks rather than constantly hitting a block and walking away. And in the end, I did write 50,000 new words (51,768 new words actually, it's the first time I've ever finished NaNo despite trying many times) plus the snippets I'd already written which translated into twenty-one chapters of Nick's story that he kept begging me for.

And that whole time he sat at my desk, cheering me on. Then at the end of November he said, "Look, we wrote it." "We sure did." "Now, let's see who will read it." "Alright. You and me, buddy." "Go say 'Hi' first." "You're right, we should go say hi first." And the craziest part is, now that I sat and wrote every day for an entire month, I finished dinner most days last week and thought "Now what?" And he popped in and said, "Let's keep writing today." And I did and now there's twenty-two chapters (and probably twenty-four to twenty-six soon knowing I have a big chunk of "interesting tid bits" I wrote down already that happen right around now in the story's timeline). So, today, thank a persistent Nick for insisting the rest of his story gets told, his persistent insistence is also why he didn't die the first time around (Is this a spoiler? Probably!). Here's a cheers to those characters and Rose plot bunnies that bother us until we do something about them. Onward to the next bit!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 07:31:53 PM by nicksgal »
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey

nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2020, 11:45:28 PM »

Alright, part two, the story. So persistent small demon Nick insisted that you hear the rest of his story.  A summary below:

Pandora's Necklace

A demon shrouded in only shadows.

A ceaseless and persistent curse.

An evil strong enough to be coveted by the Devil.

A necklace ready to ignite.

When the box no longer exists, what binds demons and priestesses? What do they fight for? And what will they find at the end of their battles?


So that being said, welcome back to this tale. If you haven't read Pandora's Box, you will be very confused, so go read it if: this sounds at all interesting, you were intrigued about just what brought me back, or you read all the posts on this forum mentioning him and thought "I like that tiny persistent Nick, he sounds like a good seed" (he is). You can probably read it comfortably over a week or so if you want to dive right into Pandora's Necklace. If you read PBox originally, a few things are being edited and added here and there, but nothing that majorly changes the story as a whole entity, so this next arc should all make sense. I'll leave notes for you at the bottom for any chapters you may want to revisit if they had any sort of overhaul that's relevant to the current plot. I signed up for an AO3 account, at the suggestion of everyone here, and will be spending the next five weeks or so (minus a holiday week story, probably) updating/posting the edited chapters for Pbox before posting Pandora's Necklace. This week, the first ten chapters are up in their shiny and best edited form!

However! You all can read PBox now! So for loyally hosting my musings and stories for the past 14 years, I figured I should post it here while the option is available. So, please find links as follows:

Pandora's Box on Absolute Chaos (with shiny updated chapters 1-10): http://absolutechaos.net/viewstory.php?sid=6894

Pandora's Necklace on Absolute Chaos: http://absolutechaos.net/viewstory.php?sid=11583

Pandora's Box on AO3 (if you want to enjoy 10 chapters at a time): https://archiveofourown.org/works/27988290

Treat me kindly, y'all!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 07:33:59 PM by nicksgal »
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2020, 07:42:05 AM »

Oh Em gee. You have NO idea how much i squealed when I saw a story/sequel to Pandora's Box. The original is one of my very favorite stories and I am super excited to see you post again.
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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2020, 12:41:12 PM »

I'm glad you're back and writing again!  Sometimes a good long break is needed to get the creative juices flowing again and discover your passion for it again.  And sometimes discipline is needed to get you going again.  I am most productive when I'm on the "force yourself to sit down and write something every day" plan.  Like you said, some days I only write 5 words, and other days I write 2,005, but hey, you never know until you try.  I'm glad it's been going well for you!
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nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2020, 07:39:47 PM »

Oh Em gee. You have NO idea how much i squealed when I saw a story/sequel to Pandora's Box. The original is one of my very favorite stories and I am super excited to see you post again.

Aw, Delphina! I'm excited to hear that! I didn't think it was anyone's favorite but mine, especially after this long, haha. Let me know what you think!

I enjoyed typing up that little author chat, so I'm planning on writing one for every update. So I hope you'll enjoy some nice background thoughts/behind the scenes chat on it all.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 12:43:39 PM by nicksgal »
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey

nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2020, 07:48:14 PM »

I'm glad you're back and writing again!  Sometimes a good long break is needed to get the creative juices flowing again and discover your passion for it again.  And sometimes discipline is needed to get you going again.  I am most productive when I'm on the "force yourself to sit down and write something every day" plan.  Like you said, some days I only write 5 words, and other days I write 2,005, but hey, you never know until you try.  I'm glad it's been going well for you!

I'm glad I'm back too, I just wish I had come back when it was still a little busier here. I miss chatting about writing. Discipline is what I need in my life for sure, otherwise I get distracted by work or inconsequentia l things like The Office reruns. I agree, if you make a conscious effort to do anything, you'll end up with something. My main concern was that six month writer's block I'd had during the initial write because I would have a five word day and go "I hate this," and then not open it again for a week. So this time, I made sure to say, "You're busy, things are going on, and you just wanted to write something down. Good job for writing something."

Right now I'm on a strict editing schedule, so we'll see what happens, haha.
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2020, 01:02:10 AM »

Aw, Delphina! I'm excited to hear that! I didn't think it was anyone favorite but mine, especially after this long, haha. Let me know what you think!

I enjoyed typing up that little author chat, so I'm planning on writing one for every update. So I hope you'll enjoy some nice background thoughts/behind the scenes chat on it all.

I have to read the updated version with the revisions to chapters 1-10 but I read and reread this story many times over time. It's definitely on my favorites list for sure.
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nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2020, 12:43:13 PM »

So many warm fuzzies. I'm the emoji surrounded by hearts. But, oh man! I will do my best not to disappoint!
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey

nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2020, 10:58:47 PM »

I really enjoyed giving a little chat last week on why writing/why now/why PNecklace (doesn't quite roll off the tongue like PBox, but it's what I've always called it), so I think I'll chat about a couple things before outlining updates for the week from now on. Today I wanted to talk about two things (one for PBox and one for PNecklace): Why Introduce Howie So Early? and Song Arcs. Let's start with Howie because he's great.

In the early days of my career as a fanfic writer, I leaned hard into that old cliche that "Howie appears in chapter seven or something, finally, and then doesn't appear until the end again" because as a young writer, I didn't know what to do with him. Also, Nick existed.

So, when I started writing PBox, I had a few shaky details on the aspects of the Boys I wanted to draw their archetypes/roles/powers from (I'm a hardcore plantser, more on those two things once AJ has been introduced in the edits), but I also wanted to make a conscious effort to give Howie something important to do. I thought, well he's Sweet D. always taking care of people, so "The Good King" seemed like the perfect role for him. He gets introduced as a "voice in a carriage," but I always felt like he was out and about that day checking on his citizens and their day-to-day goings on. At least until Nick and Minako crashed into the capital screaming, "We're here to interrupt you with the plot, Howie!!!"

To be fair, I did sideline Howie for a hot second in favor of some nice moments between two other characters... Not Nick and Minako, at least not them at Howie's expense. If you've read the story, you know the two characters. If you haven't, but know enough about my Boys bonding moments leanings, then you can probably guess. And if you're just not sure at all, these next few edited chapters are those chapters, so you'll find out soon! But, at the time, I felt like sidelining Howie for a moment was justified because he's obviously very busy what with ruling a whole country, but could still pop up when a "drop everything" moment arrived for the group/plot. And he still came back to the story before I introduced AJ at all, so that's a win for Howie too. In the years of developing the story, I eventually pinpointed a plot-related reason for his absence, but you'll just have to wait and see what that is! (Team No PNecklace spoilers!)

And some fun images from last week's updates (see hardcore plantser above):

Nick at the beginning of the story

Our gal pal, Minako

Howie in his Kingly robes

Our buddy Nick at the start of PNecklace
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey

nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2020, 11:06:50 PM »

Now song arcs and the updates... Obviously there's some plot arcs in the story: "gotta catch 'em all" is the beginning of PBox (not a Pokemon fan, but love a relevant reference joke), the middle is "the journey to the box," and the end is "battle royal: tournament style." But I also like the emotive feeling of connecting lyrics and music within elements of the story.

You'll notice in the first chapter of PNecklace that "Incomplete" is running through the narrative (and through most of PBox as well) because it's always been a big part of the story for me. When I first started writing this story and had the initial idea, it was about three months after Never Gone was released (after the concert), because before the concert, I was full in on creating another story as a comic to give to Nick at the show -- given the timeline, you might recognize that story as the also delightfully epic, but unfinished Gobosei (which there are potential musings of new chapters from forever ago, but it's no where near as fleshed out as PNecklace in a "this will probably be completed in the next year, maybe two" sense). Anyway, first hearing "Incomplete" had struck me with the thought that "This is what it felt like to be a Backstreet Boys fan during their hiatus post-Black and Blue." Of course I'm glad they took the break for their mental and physical health, creativity, etcetera and it's not even the longest break between new music for them now, but it felt like forever back then, especially when we only had MySpace for social media or weren't constantly connected to technology. The major thoughts and feelings that I'd had during that hiatus were: the worry at seeing Justin get really successful as a solo act and bringing "the end" to 90s boybands, the worry that something you really enjoyed that was ubiquitous was suddenly quiet, and the worry that if anyone's solo stuff went really well like Justin's, would BSB be like Justin and NSYNC or would they be like the Wu Tang Clan? (It's such a stupid movie, but I love so many moments of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping", especially that gem near the end.) As it turns out: They're the Wu Tang Clan or Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but they're all Tom Petty. (Hahahahaha.)

I've always found something really beautiful about the lyrics for "Incomplete" and then the added visual imagery of the video with everything on fire, but then it wanes and burns out into this calm and tranquil greenery with Kevin and a piano. I loved that, the wild, elemental forces of nature blending into the calm of music. With all those background thoughts, it kind of ran rampant through the story. What makes someone feel "Incomplete"? A thing, a person, their own experiences?

I think there's something really powerful about imbuing the essence and feeling of music into written works, especially when as BSB fanfic writers, a lot of our experience with our source characters/material is song. If you're reading along with my edits, Nick at the beginning of PBox is very "Help Me"esque. He and Minako are very "Who Needs the World"ish/"I Got You"ish with each other. The end of the story is littered with "Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely" imagery. I'm not sure if these things are spoilers? It's an old story, but maybe it's old enough that some people reading this are reading it for the first time (if you think these are spoilers, please say so and I'll be more vague). I'm sure you're curious, what song imagery or arcs are in PNecklace besides "Incomplete"? You may have noticed some "Permanent Stain" vibes in the first chapter as well, but otherwise you'll have to wait and see!


Please find updates as follows (links included):

Pandora's Box on Absolute Chaos (with shiny updated chapters 11-20)

Chapter Two of Pandora's Necklace on Absolute Chaos

Pandora's Box on AO3 (now has the first 20 chapters available if you only want to read fully updated chapters)
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey

FrickingKaos

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2020, 08:23:34 AM »

Loved the new chapter. I was so excited that I read it right when I woke up this morning. I love these characters.
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nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2020, 07:03:37 PM »

Loved the new chapter. I was so excited that I read it right when I woke up this morning. I love these characters.

I'm a vat of smiles!!!! Thanks for the love, Delphina! This installment is definitely more character arc driven than the first one, so I'm glad it's the characters you love in this case.
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey

nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2020, 06:10:43 PM »

So this last week, I updated chapters 11-20 from PBox and chapter 2 of PNecklace. I hope you all enjoyed some more fun banter between Nick and Brian, some more introspection, and some cute Nick and Minako moments in the former and having our favorite demons back in the latter, mostly.

On our friend tiny persistent Nick's urging, I started this whole adventure with some rereading again. And while I was happy with the story as a whole, I hated the first part of Nick and Minako's relationship and I couldn't figure out why that was or what exactly I wanted to fix about it (other than starting over)... I'd remembered hating the 10/11/12 stretch from my first revisit to PBox, but I thought that was more about them being bare bones storytelling surrounded by juggernaut chapters when there was more to experience in those moments. But, when I started writing the interesting tidbits and snippets in PNecklace, I thought "Ah. Here is why."

They were supposed to have this epic love story in an equally epic place: champions for each other, fierce loyalty, a willingness to burst through hell for each other, and make sacrifices for each other, among other things. And that was there a little bit, but in the beginning, they just kind of jumped into it. And in the tidbits I started writing, their relationship had that epicness to it, but also this quiet maturity. Ah, here is why. Now that I'm in my thirties, I've had many more love stories than I had when I started writing PBox. I was only a senior in high school back then! My longest term love story at that point was probably my celebrity crush on Nick, which isn't much of a love story, much less an epic one. The problem, I realized, was that it was all very high school feeling, but what else would a high schooler really know? Ah. Here is why. And then it took me almost three years to finish. Looking back at 2008 when I finally finished it, no wonder I wanted to start editing the beginning the longer I kept writing it!

Nick's a little prickly in the beginning and he lashes out a lot, but I think his character would still fall for a rescue romance, for the first person who called him kind and not a monster, once he decided it was okay to feel that way or say it out loud without worrying about protecting his feelings. And Minako admits in story that she was taken in by his embrace, and then his smile, but she is a high school senior in PBox, so I think in the beginning that it's okay for her to think "this cute boy is nice to me, I love him" before growing into a deeper love and affection over time. I know I did that a lot in high school. Over the course of the story, they do start making those sacrifices for each other and supporting each other along the way, so it wasn't all a disaster. There just needed to be a few more little building blocks in the beginning to show it had the seeds of epicness and not just jumping in for the sake of it.

In general, the story has a lot of fire forged love (and friendship), that idea that when you go through tough things together, you come out unbreakable... Or so you think. That's probably the toughest part of their relationship to each other (and their friendships), the whole plot probably lasts... Maybe a month or two of story time at most. So the whole thing is kind of exacerbated by these life or death stakes. If you might die, what should you do with the time you do have? Anyway, I hope this rewrite sits better with everyone else too, keeps that epic feeling, discards the high schoolness of the situation, and even though it still is a quick leap, feels right for them and their adventure. We'll see how next week's PNecklace update goes! We couldn't leave our favorite persistent demon out of the story for too long!

Your delightful doodles this week:

Brian with his great hat

Brian without his accessories

Our favorite big bro Kevin

Howie in his battle outfit

Minako at the beginning of PNecklace
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey

nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2020, 06:51:49 PM »

In the meantime, happy holidays to everyone! Please enjoy a short story! Hopefully it makes you laugh and say "aww" many times.

Three Cheers for Christmas Time!

The Boys plan an early Secret Santa exchange before Brian and Kevin head back to Kentucky for the holidays. In typical fashion, Nick forgets until the gift exchange day and panic buys the first decent present he finds. Will his gift be a Christmas fail or will he find the true spirit of Christmas?


On the title, it feels like we should be getting a third BSB Christmas song some time in the next couple of years and I've always enjoyed that their only holiday songs are six years apart and called "Christmas Time" and "It's Christmas Time Again." So at this point, it makes perfect sense to me that every few years, they should make a new "Number reference plus Christmas Time somewhere in the title" song. Nick and I seem to have this same penchant for jokes like this and he helped write the second one, so I'm counting on you to fulfill this vision, Nick!

Link on AC above (just click the title), and if you enjoyed it enough that you want to leave a review on it forever, it's also on AO3: Three Cheers for Christmas Time on AO3
« Last Edit: December 23, 2020, 06:53:49 PM by nicksgal »
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey

nicksgal

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Re: Drop it like it's hot! Or... Updates from Dee. :o)
« Reply #29 on: December 30, 2020, 09:07:22 PM »

A brand new story last week! I was involved in a few Secret Santas this holiday season and I thought BSB Secret Santa could be funny, especially if Nick just flat out forgot when it was. And then hilarity ensued. I think half of what I wrote ended up in there because it made me laugh more than me thinking it would make anyone else laugh. "Three Cheers for Christmas Time!" really highlights my favorite dynamics between the boys (I'm so sorry AJ and Howie!), I'm forever team Frick & Frack and Big Bro & Little Bro (does this have a name I'm unaware of?). I've consciously tried to have different dynamics in PBox & PNecklace as much as possible, but you'll definitely still catch leanings in there, especially when the groups split up. Frick & Frack is really nostalgic for me and their banter is just great. Plus I love that Brian can still make the dumbest jokes and Nick will die every time. It just gets me! And I melt every time for the dynamics of Nick and Kevin foiling, supporting, and loving each other. "The little one is the oldest and usually has to take care of people and the big one's the youngest and gets taken care of by people, but now in their chosen family, they're the opposite. Aww..." And then their serious vs silly dynamic, but the older I get, the more I think in the 90's that had a heavy basis in age dichotomy in addition to personality. In general, I'm a sucker for "band of brothers/chosen family/true companions," probably because of the Boys. It will get me every time, so I try to use it as much as possible in my own writing (even outside of BSB fanfic, but especially in BSB fanfic).

In this last week of 2020, I'm following my typical update schedule which has been the range between a cursory edit of my writing before posting and some overhauls of the next set of PBox chapters. Though a "cursory edit" for PNecklace is still about 600 different words. Also, this week's PBox update chunk was probably the last one with major overhauls, but as I say that, I'm currently fighting the urge to go Victor Hugo on you all and create a brand new chapter between this week's chunk and next week's chunk titled "I'd like to talk about mfin' castles for 20 pages"... and then I realized that I still just didn't do Aohouseki full justice... So go back to chapter 5 in a few weeks to watch me fully nerd out about castles, I guess... There were a lot of Renee/NSYNC focused chapters in this section, so I thought it would go better trying to edit them all at once, rather than one at a time -- like focusing on a story within a story, but I for sure kept straying from them to edit team BSB focused chapters, including trying to move on to the next 10 chapter chunk before finishing them! It got a little stressful at the end to make sure 21/22/23/25 were all squared away for today's update chunk (thank goodness it's winter break) and I definitely realized that I didn't have enough Renee/NSYNC in me to do ch. 23 full justice, so back we went to team BSB for some good times (I had a lot of fun adding that part, so I hope anyone reading along enjoys it too, it's basically a "so what do they do when they're traveling" snippet). It was nice taking a little PBox/PNecklace editing break and writing something new the past couple of weeks, though, but we're almost at the end of these massive edits, so yay!

2020 has been something else. I've become increasingly hermitish during the year. I only go two places: school and my house, though I know a lot of people don't even have two places, so I count this among my blessings. The longer this year has gone, the more I became the shrug emoji. Something bad happened? Sure, that seems like 2020. Something good happened? Good, I needed that in 2020, but what's next?

I'm very glad Nick and AJ were on TV for months. I needed that at the end of this year, it felt like going back to a simpler and more joyful time. Aside number two, I think this is why 80's Movie resonated with me so much, outside of Nick sounding great, the lyrics being great, and the music being great. Just replace "80's Movie" with "90's love song" and I 100% feel you, Nick -- though in general, I do love 80's movies more than others (#growinguppoor/#nocable) and appreciate your overall point, because he reads this obviously. I think it's that feeling of wanting to go back to not just simpler times, but childhood when it really did feel like anything was possible with a little effort and a lot of dreaming. And it can be, but it's definitely heavier on the effort side and also some other things more than just wanting or believing. I'm also glad that tiny demon Nick popped up to say "hello." It's just been a year between politics, working constantly day in and day out since March and feeling like you can't take a personal day because there's always more you can do to help the kids and their families, the stress of never knowing what will happen week to week this fall, the constant worry about what ifs in the pandemic, worry if you're doing enough in your volunteer roles/if you can do more for your community, some personal stressors about what's next for our little family... But writing and the 90's, what a nice thing to retreat into... Some place where there's other things to focus on and have a chance to get out of your head and anxieties for a little while.

On writing in particular, focusing on some literal demons and not some metaphorical demons has been a breath of fresh air in a lot of doom and gloom. I'm hoping I can keep it up in this new year because I think I always missed writing even when I wasn't doing it, but I just let the disappointment of failure get to me constantly. That's why tiny, persistent Nick and I celebrate every small thing, at least we did some writing. So I hope everyone found something to celebrate in 2020, no matter how small, writing-related or not, and will take the time to celebrate the little things in 2021. Cheers!
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~*Dee*~

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.

From "And Now, Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey
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