Category Archives: Ahern says no one gives a shit if you hurt

A new chapter is almost ready for the editing gang : Some words on updates

I’m about 14k into the next chapter, and 6k for the chapter after that. If all goes well I should get the next chapter to the Editing Gang on May 4 towards the evening.

Today someone PM’d me and asked why the first two books only took three years for 1.2 million words when the third has taken four years for half that much.

Given that I’ve gone for months and months without an update, I think it’s fair to kind of go over whats been happening and why. This is a long rambling post, so you don’t have to read unless you’re actually interested.

The Early Years (OSABC, Mother’s Tears, the original STG files)

So, back when I started this entire mess, I really didn’t plan on writing three million words scattered across some fifty stories. The first couple of things were just me playing around.

At the time, I was very much trying to distract myself from my wife’s death. I was trying to throw myself into activities (writing, painting, guitar, hiking) to focus my mind, distract my emotions and let me function again after almost a year of sitting in my house and only leaving to go to work or buy food.

When I started writing I had no large plan. As I’ve said elsewhere, the whole ‘sheep and battle chicken’ thing came out of a set of nicknames, the idea of comraderie and friends for life that (at the time) I felt bitter about missing.

As such, a lot of people have commented on the disjointed, overly emotional and angsty tone of OSABC, and the depressive overtones. That’s to be expected.

My wife was dead. My brother was dead. My father was dead. My two closest friends had been blown to bits by an IED in Iraq. My cousin, the one I looked on as my heir, was diagnosed with epilepsy and couldn’t finish college. My relatives bickered over the property of dead people. My career was a wash and I had lost most of my savings, and the last bit of love I had left, my mother, had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Go write some fucking sunshine shit when this is on your plate, and more. So I used OSABC to distract, and at times, I vented. I spewed out concepts and words and beliefs that I needed to get out before they poisoned me, even if at the time I was unaware I did it.

But more than that, OSABC chapters were often short. Some of them weren’t even two thousand words. Before I started writing I had outlined a great deal and it was easy to just fill those outlines. There was one period in which I dropped 150k words in ten days. (The DLP people can confirm.)

At some point, for some reason, people began reading, and word spread. It went from being some mangly thing with 200 reviews to having 1.5k reviews and being on the first page of FF.net results for Mass Effect fan fiction.

At this point I had just finished off OSABC and made friends with people like Bebus, Progman, Wordkrush, and jay8008, all of whom influenced how I wrote and what I wrote.


The Explosion (ATTWN, the Cerberus Files, the STG Files, and No Single Raindrop)

Due to the influence of people who could actually write, ATTWN had a much stronger emotional tone to it. Many of the critical pieces I took from conversations with Progman and Bebus, and others from Wordkrush. Things from Shepard burning her Penal Legion Blanket to the N7 Parade of Swords Passant to the honeymoon on Inte’sai — all came from the influence of others.

It was also around this time I began chafing even more at the limits of canon and more importantly, the blank spots. For such a vast universe that ME provides, we know very little. And so to distract myself further, I began to fill it.

I had to research math, cultures, physics, musical styles, biochemistry. I had to come up with histories spanning millennia, truly alien biologies, and alien mindsets that both fit canon to a degree and yet built on it in the Premiseverse way. And all this study distracted me further, because it was interesting.

If OSABC was an exploration in grandiose melodramatic storytelling, ATTWN was emotional. At times it was more draining than I expected, and other parts were difficult to write, and yet I got most of it done in a single year.

It was towards the tail end of this effort that a few of my more devoted readers had conversation chains with me, mostly via PM in FF.net. Most of them had the same complaint: I love the writing but you have a lot of typos and errors.

I attempted to make a focused effort to fix that, but work became more hectic and slowed that down.


The Current Period (TWCD, Sorrows, Memories)

When I wrote OSABC, I had outlines for everything and knew exactly what I wanted to write. When I wrote ATTWN it was just plugging things into existing frameworks, not a lot of originality was needed.

At the start of TWCD, however, I was running from whole cloth pure AU. The startup ‘tutorial’ sequence in the game never sat well with me, and in scrapping that (and tossing away the last rags of canon) I had to set out to write a story that incorporated all of the many setups and foreshadowings I had while preparing more for the later installments.

So I began to write, and at first I cranked things out fast, but the chapters felt a little.. flat. And around this time, one of the people I’d been talking to, Comma, decided it would be good to help out editing my work. The first efforts of this were done in shared Google Docs, and the chat function of Docs allowed me my first real time chats with my readers.

Their input cleaned up the work (A LOT) and also began shifting my focus. I incorporated suggestions and trimmed entire sections, sometimes tearing out entire outlines to put in a really good idea.

As time went on my job got more and more intrusive. Instead of working 9 to 5 and having from 6 to midnight to myself, I had to juggle managment, taking care of Mom, dealing with church events, and a much longer work schedule.

To help out further the Editing Gang was officially formed, and at some remove, a Discord was created…bringing us to today.


Look, LP, that’s all great but why the fuck did you go from putting out 150k in 10 days to one chapter every four or five months?

Four reasons, really.

  1. OSABC and ATTWN generally followed at least parts of canon and were outlined and partially drafted before I started putting anything on FF.net. TWCD, on the other hand, only has an outline of the ‘big events’ and is completely AU. As more material gets added, it means I have to make sure I’m not contradicting my own lore, inducing plot holes, or other such nonsense.
  2. OSABC and ATTWN were both written without a serious attempt at polish, editing, or redrafting. I just let my fingers go and then hit publish. TWCD has several drafts that I go through now: one initial rough draft, then a check for plot holes and inconsistencies, and then a draft that the Editing Gang sees and usually tears apart, sometimes so much I have to rewrite large portions of the chapter. The pre-drafts usually take a least a couple of weeks and it can take a week (or more) for the EG to all finalize their work.
  3. My personal life has gone from mostly stable to… somewhat unpleasant. I’ve had to take a demotion, my heir has turned out to be a disappointment, and my family has become intolerable. On top of that, I now have had multiple medical issues — my back can seize up and cause me pain that lays me out for days and now my wrist is causing me pain when I write. For about three months I simply couldn’t write more than a few short sentences at a time.
  4. Most importantly, writing TWCD has been a lot harder on me emotionally than the first two. Digging to find the emotional depth opened up some scars. It’s tiring, and the reason there’s so much new side material is that I enjoy writing that more than the main story sometimes.

I am glad you have all made this insane journey with me, and barring something terrible happening to my health, I plan to keep writing out my series. For the moment I’ve put my original fiction on hold (although I dabble at it from time to time) because the market is so bad right now.

I know the stories are at times… not the best. There are typos or missing words, or too much focus on the Rule of Cool. There’s a lot of angst and perhaps not enough light. I am trying to make it enjoyable and entertaining, for no other reason that I’ve had people tell me what I’ve written has gotten them through a shitty day, or inspired them to write, or helped them get past a dead relative.

If I can do that, then what started as just me trying to distract myself is a goal worth pursuing. Thanks for reading.



Update to my situation : Arrow to the Knee Edition

This is being dictated to Angel since I’m not able to sit at a keyboard.  If anybody has called me directly in the past day or so, she’s the lady who answered the phone.

I’ve not been online much the past few weeks. I’ve not gone into details in public,  but I’ve had a change of what I do at my job, no longer managing a team but now working on specific technical issues and trouble tickets impacting production for my company.

While initially this was a reduction on overhead workload, that didn’t last long as I discovered critical unaddressed issues.

Fixing those took a lot of manual effort, and this was made more complicated by the fact that the guy who ran the system was very ill with some kind of disease. His backup was killed in a car accident and that made everything kind of fall apart.

This culminated in me having to assist other IT/DBA’s onsite at corporate HQ in North Carolina.  I haven’t done much business travel and every time is a mess. I was fatigued after this and planned to take off. The week prior I was occupied in trying to tie everything up and had issues with the home internet.

Long story short, I was rushing, pissed, and not getting enough sleep or rest. This is probably why I’m stuck in bed now.

Last Friday, I was finishing up work when I had a tearing pain in my left knee. I usually use a cane a friend of mine bought me, but as I was on the production floor and the cane incorporates metal, I didn’t have it. The knee itself was swollen and my lost balance meant I also twisted my ankle badly, to the point I could not walk.

This week was supposed to be my vacation — I’d rest a couple of days, do some cleanup on the fiction, work pieces put together by Jacob, Burnsidhe and other authors, and begin working with the guy who did the EGM mod for ME3 on a storyboard.

Instead, I’ve been in the hospital. There was ‘stress’ and deformation to my ACL with indications it may have a minor tear, and tears in the meniscus, which are pieces of cartilage connecting the leg bones in the knee. Initially I thought it had just given out, but in the course of an x-ray and exam by my doctor on Tuesday he found out more severe damage.

As such I have been in the hospital undergoing meniscus repair, fracture repair, getting the ankle worked on,  and physical therapy. Obviously this does not allow me to get online and even when I could use my phone I can’t get a fucking signal in the hospital thanks to Sprint’s shitty coverage.

I’ve had repairs done to the torn menisci (Liethr can explain what this entails, it sounds scarier than it is). The ACL was evaluated as a Grade 1 injury, but the knee specialist was worried without treating the existing damage and given the poor state of the kneecap and the presence of microfractures this could get worse.

The microfractures were fixed with more microfractures to force healing, along with something they injected. This was explained to me as a technique widely used, but it takes time to heal properly.

The surgery went well, they fixed (sort of) the tear and addressed the microfracture, as well as ‘adjusted’ the ACL — my medical knowledge is on par with a very bad medical school student so there were some details I’m hazy on. I will be going back for follow ups next week and doing physical therapy ongoing for a while.

I came home from the hospital this morning — normally this is done outpatient, but the microfracture and ACL slippage meant they did more than just arthroscopy and I didn’t react well to the anesthesia.

I’m pretty tired. I’ll be on braces and crutches and all this fucked up therapy shit for weeks, which cuts into my free  time. Work will also, I’m sure, be hilarious.

I am probably going to rest the next couple of days. My leg cannot be bent and I can’t really stand or walk much, so getting online would be problematic, although I will make a stab at being on discord via phone later today or tomorrow.

Bottom line, of course, is that this has derailed a lot of projects. Jacob’s piece ostensibly needs me to finish part of it, Burnsidhe’s P. snippet needs to be paired with an STG file I haven’t written the basics on for him to fill out, and I have not had any time to speak with or work with Master Kinkojiro on storyboarding.

Rather than scatter information around I’m posting it all here.

Editing Gang to-do’s : I need the team to do me a little prep work for when I can sit at a chair again and get shit done.

  • Prepare a finished state document for ALL of the various pieces of work — P STG file, Aria STG file, Volus File, Krogan File, etc. That is, a list of what is done, what is not done, and for the stuff not done what is needed to be done.
  • Jacob, I believe, has volus psychology done, while physiology is not done. I’d appreciate it if several of you took a stab at coming up with a physiology doc, at least rough outlines, and then I can take what research I have done and work those two.
  • Ariel made a writeup of mech stuff on the forums — additional ideas and details that could go into a tech guide doc would be extremely useful.
  • I need a meme list or ideas for reactions for the post-Ilium chapter in regards to the big televised fights.
  • I need a EG guy or gal to step up and make a list of all hard conflict retcons that need to be clarified or re-written — such as asari / volus contact, early instances of hanar not being in line with my later changes, spots where things said in one place clash with another. This doesn’t have to be done soon but I want it cleaned up.
  • Someone give me a status on the OSABC rewrites and where we are on those.
  • The next chapter of TWCD is at 8,500 words and is no where near done. The next chapter of Lions is at 2,000 words but is clunkery. (I don’t think this is a word but he told me to put it there). There are very ugly drafts of the drell history and psychology chapters that I haven’t posted online.  Anything you’d like to see in these would be useful feedback.

Given that I’ve just had knee surgery and a) can’t fucking walk or sit and b) am tripping on pain meds most of the day, I don’t expect to get anything accomplished today aside from drooling.

Best way to do feedback is to email it to me : viley at att dot net or henryviley at gmail dot com will both drive to my phone. If needed, both Comma and Nimiraj can contact me directly via phone.  (If you are friends with me on Facebook, you can use that as well).

I do not have a good ETA to when the next chapter is done.  I will update as I have more information and can think when the Vicodin wears off.

Very long overdue update

Admist all the chaos of this year I let myself fall out of the habit of updates.

Given TWCD hasn’t updated since February, and since I just finished up the climax of the Angstrofuck of Doom tonight, I thought an update would be in order.

Progress of the main fic: The next chapter is (finally) done, although of a monstrous size — very close to 30k in word length. The chapter after that is mostly fleet battles, reactions and aftermath, and the one after that is mostly positioning for the assault on the Shadow Broker.

After that is another few chapters on findings, the Citadel Council, and Shepard employing Jack Harper levels of sneak and snark. Then shit goes completely off the canon rails once and for all.

Progress of the side fics: Work is continuing on the krogan and volus pieces by other authors. I am in the process of gathering up what I need for the drell. I have all the stuff I need for vorcha, and the yagh, well… we’ll have to see.

After a couple of more updates to the Special Ops guide, once these races are done the Cerberus Files will (finally) be complete, except for the human one which has two more chapters.

I plan to finish up the Encyclopedia Biotica, the Tech Guide, and Ahern’s Guide after that. Once those are wrapped up I can work on Lions.

As usual Naruto fics aren’t officially on the schedule for years yet, although I will do sporadic updates.

Other issues: work is taking up more of my time as we have more contracts now (Comcast, Charter, Nike, and two more I can’t say anything about).  Things are somewhat calming down, but they’re doing another set of reorganizations. While these reorgs won’t target my people or business unit, they are affecting the teams that provide support, DBAs and assistance to our team, so it will make things harder in the short term.

My health is… fair. My knee is beginning to cause me problems (I hurt it twenty years ago, when I was in the Navy, along with my back) and I’ve started using a cane when doing my walking exercise. My back is behaving itself — a few times it has hurt a little or felt stiff, but it went away.

My mother’s health is stable.

My finances are not so hot. I’ve had a rash of appliance issues and other problems this year already, not to mention issues with my car. This is the first time in my life I’ve carried more debt than I can simply pay off without ramifications and I find I dislike the experience intensely.  I’ll wait and see what happens as the year develops after reviews are done — a raise would help.

Status of the Editing Gang: The EG seems to be doing well, although several of them are having issues (health, financial, mental, or punctuation insanity related) of their own. We haven’t put together a new crackfic eruption yet but give it time. Our listed specializations now include :

  • particle and spatial physics
  • advanced math
  • chemistry (inorganic and some organic)
  • metallurgy and ballistics
  • psychology (aberrant and clinical)
  • medicine (from an actual doctor, not a hack like me)
  • biochemistry
  • cultural anthropology
  • geology
  • meteorology
  • polandballs

Patreon and Art Efforts:

So far the Patreon is much appreciated and we are on target for all three of the quoted prices for the main art pieces this year:

1) An image of Shepard facing down Tetrimus at Ilium

2) An image of Tazzik, in the same detail as Tetrimus

3) Line art facials for five or six original characters as well as some canon immigrants (Rasa, Brooks, Pel, Kai Leng, and Ezno).

The original fiction is on hold, but the money has already been invested in the software, research books, and equipment I need to produce and if needed self-publish it. I don’t have a good ETA when I’ll restart it, but if I can get things steady I can give a shot at it by next year.

As always, if you have questions or concerns you can reach me by :

  • Messages here or on the forums
  • PM on Fanfiction.net LogicalPremise
  • Email (viley at att dot net)
  • Our official discord

I am giving serious thought to a subreddit, although I certainly won’t be the one setting it up or administering it.

Thank you all for your messages of support and the next chapter will be out as soon as the Editing Gang removes all the pieces I fucked up and makes it all shiny and chrome.

Business Travel & Personal Bullshit

I’m unfortunately traveling on business, and in an area that’s from the 1950’s or fucking something because internet is beyond shitty.

Aside from that, I’ll be back on Friday, but Monday morning I’m going to be in court due to some family complications. I haven’t had a chance to do anything with the fic, but (so far) my health is stable and I should have a chance to work on it when I get back.

There’s no telling what the Editing Gang or the Discord Group have gotten up to in my absence. If another crackfic chapter is produced I cannot be held accountable.

🙂

UPDATE : CYBERNETIC CAT-HOUSE CONVENTION #5949

As a note, I am not anywhere near Hurricane Harvey.

My back is… improving, finally, after long adjustments and an unbelievably uncomfortable laparoscopic procedure to literally carve out a piece of disc material.

The good news is the supplements are working, as the microfactures in L4 and L5 have healed up (due to being fucking immobile). L2 is still… shaky, but I can deal with that later. The upshot is that I am not stuck in backbraces and traction all the time now and can (hopefully) get both work done and some stuff done on the fiction.

The bad news is that (given it’s already the 27th) it’s extremely unlikely TWCD will be updated before the end of the month. That being said, I will hopefully be able to write some next week, clean up some OSABC chapters and dump out an update to Liara’s piece and Ahern’s stuff.

I’m going to be having a couple of more art pieces done, although no good timeline on when that will happen.

I am appreciative of all the comments, IMs, emails and texts people have sent me. Thank you for your support. 🙂

 

Update : Cybernetic Catalepsy Convention #94

I am still alive.

My SUV (my only remaining vehicle) is dead, the battery cables are somehow corroded or faulty. I’m having to have a mechanic come to my house to fix it because Ford, in their infinite fucking idiocy, made replacing the cables impossible for someone with near-crippling backpain.

That has not improved much, although at least I can work for more than an hour at a time without having to ice my back. Right now, even if I felt like it, after working I don’t think I could get much written, although hopefully that will change as I do adjustments.

Various… other issues… have not improved my mood. Thanks to the stupidity of abusers, the doctor said he could not refill my usual prescription for Vicodin. I’m using Aleve, which is about as effective as pissing at a Reaper to slow  it down.

I had a nice power outage in the storms down here that managed to ruin everything in my refrigerator.

The good news? I have not, according to my last physical, developed any cancers or other directly life-threatening diseases. Yet.

However, I have on occassion typed a few words here and there, so my plan to at least attempt a chapter before the end of August is still in the works. I’m aware how frustrating it is to have to wait (I’ve been waiting on A Drop of Poison now since December) but there’s not a lot I can do to speed things up without making my back worse.

Many of you have emailed, PM’d or txted me, all of which is appreciated, even if my replies tend towards the terse. I’m sorry if I’m not doing good at keeping in contact, I’m a bit upset with some other (personal, stupid) stuff going on that isn’t improving my mood.

I will show up in chat when I’m in a better mood than this.

Update #402892 : Cybernetic Boogaloo Edition

I’ve managed to feel good enough to work a little bit (a very, very little bit) on some things.

  • I’m roughly 1200 words into an Ahern doc on the quarians.
  • I’m at about 3000 words on the next TWCD chapter.
  • I’m fiddling with a chapter to No Single Raindrop

Right now, there are a large number of chapters up for editing for the rewrite of OSABC. I’d like people to focus on that while I’m down, since it’s easier for me to work with that stuff. If we could knock down 10 chapters a week we could easily have the whole thing done and start on ATTWN (which also needs attention in a few places).

Back surgery is going to have to wait. I’m talking to my doctor and my chiropractor (board certified, former sports medical professional, thinks reiki is shit and that homopaths should be jailed — you know, my kind of chiropractor) and they want to do some ATLAS adjustments and try to line my spine back up and see if that doesn’t reduce pressure on the disc.

The *good* news is nothing is fused yet and that most of the fractures, while sizeable, are not expanding. I’ve been put on several supplements (calcium and strontium, FDA approved stuff only, I’m not wasting time with fucking herbs).

The bad news is that I’m not sure how long it will take before I feel better.

Not helping events : I loaned my sister a car, the Chrysler 300 that belonged to my wife. First she got it towed because she let her idiot boyfriend drive it. Now it’s been in an accident and the insurance company is telling me it is totalled.

Just what I needed. In any event, work is … proceeding. Hopefully (as stated) I can get the next chapter out by late August, as my focus is on not straining myself.

If you are on the ‘regular’ editing gang and would like to join the “OSABC editing gang” just request approval, as I have the list of emails. Anyone who is not currently on the Gang that I don’t know needs to please email me directly at viley@att.net.

 

 

July Update

I’ll be brief:

  • My back has not improved, and due to some complications, surgery is … risky. I will need to wait until my vertebrae heal to have that done.
  • Until I have the surgery back pain will get worse along with possible nerve damage
  • Finances are not good enough to risk taking long leave periods and work is … unstable.

As a result, it is very unlikely that the next chapter of TWCD will be out before August. I’m sorry to have to put things off at a cliff-hanger, but that’s the facts.

The fic is on hold, not dead. Even in the extremely unlikely event that I cannot finish it I would find a writer to continue it and provide ideas and support.

(Liethr: Medical details are in the chat, Cat can tell you, I’d appreciate your opinion. )

Progress on next chapter

It’s about 10k words so far, and progress, while a bit slow, is a lot faster than on the previous chapter.

My back is not being cooperative, but I am working steadily towards getting this chapter out as soon as I can.  So far, so good.